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Festival Republic boss urges government to adopt pre-event testing

Live Nation begins promoting live events in the Nordics as Poland eases measures to allow concerts of 150 people and Eventim Scandinavia unveils new pay-per-view streaming platform…

UK festival testing

Festival Republic’s chief has outlined a blueprint for UK festivals to incorporate COVID-19 testing in 2021 to avoid social distancing rules that would make them “impossible” to operate.

Melvin Benn, managing director of the promoter that runs Wireless and Download, told BBC Radio 1 Newsbeat that social distancing at festivals is “utterly bonkers” and the events need to be “full houses” to be economically viable.

He added that without festivals, such as Reading and Leeds, it is “impossible for us to operate out businesses,” and has called on the government to consider requiring coronavirus testing for those wanting to attend an event.

Benn suggests that everybody buying tickets for an event have been tested for Covid-19 “within either seven or 14 days” before the event or “whichever length of time … the government determines is safe”.

The music industry executive said that “every single bit” of his 2020 turnover has been demolished by COVID-19, adding “it can’t happen two years on the trot.”

His plan includes advising eventgoers to get a test and download the NHS trace app, which would allow people to continue with the booking process. When a negative test result comes through, it would alert users of being COVID-19 free and would act as a “virtual permission slip” to attend the event along with a ticket.

Live Nation

Live Nation has announced it will promote concerts of up to 500 people in Finland and Denmark as COVID-19 measures begin to ease in the countries.

Live Nation Finland will this month stage the Suvilahti Summer series, which includes daily concerts and films. It will kick off with Finnish artist Evelina on June 11.

In terms of safety measures, the guidelines indicate a table and chair setup for two to six people safely distanced from each other.

In Finland, restrictions related to COVID-19 have been eased with a 500-capacity limit on public gatherings to remain in place until July 31.

Live Nation Finland managing director Tomi Saarinen said: “It is great to be back with events in such a unique way, after a short break. This event series is a good example of how a crisis can lead to innovation.

“We believe that these upcoming summer moments in Helsinki´s finest setting will create memories that last. The artists and we at Live Nation are very excited, and we believe that the audience will join us in this excitement.”

In Denmark, where events of up to 500 people are also now allowed, Live Nation will be promoting a concert by rock act Steen Jørgensen, who will perform at the DR Concert Hall on June 26.

The Concert Hall will be “carefully arranged according to the authorities’ instructions with a focus on proper distance and safety.”

Meanwhile, Aarhus Festival in Denmark is set to go ahead from August 28 to September 6. The festival hosts a mixed programme of arts, culture and music. Some small events at Aarhus, including concerts, will be limited to between 10 and 30 people


The Polish government has this week announced live outdoor events of up to 150 people are now allowed after COVID-19 restrictions have been eased in the country.

Poland has moved into its fourth phase of reopening, which means such public gatherings are able to go ahead with attendees required to remain two metres apart or cover their faces.

Events of more than 100 people have been suspended in the country since early March.

Cultural institutions in Poland, such as theatres and venues, have been given the greenlight to reopen with reduced capacities this weekend. Nightclubs, however, will remain closed.


Eventim Scandinavia has introduced a new pay-per-view streaming platform Giggea for its live entertainment partners.

In partnership with digital music company Rockway Oy, the company, which includes Denmark’s Billetlugen, Eventim Norway and Eventim Sweden, developed a ticketed livestreaming platform to support organisations struggling through COVID-19.

Theatre production På veg TeStiklestad, created by the newly started theatre company Det Nye Teateret (The New Theatre) in Trondheim, Norway, became the first live streamed event on Giggea last week.

Eventim Scandinavia chief executive, Jens B. Arnesen, said: “The demand for digital solutions has increased during COVID-19 restrictions.

“However, there are also exciting possibilities for digital ticketing solutions after Covid-19, where the industry might continue to take advantage of the streaming opportunities to develop the business of the live experience with larger audiences we all miss so much.”

Image: Secretlondon