Standon Calling organisers have confirmed the festival will take place at full capacity in July after new Health Secretary Sajid Javid said next month is “the end of the line” for COVID restrictions.
They said Javid’s positive remarks, the recently published Events Research Programme data and their own preparations, including collaboration with testing app Certific and Imperial College London, have led them to press on with preparations despite many others announcing cancellations.
While Standon Calling will not be a test event, organisers said a negative pre-event COVID lateral flow test will be a prerequisite for attending the festival in Hertfordshire.
Around 15,000 people are expected to attend the three-day event from July 22-25, which will be headlined by Primal Scream.
“Whilst we await formal Government guidance on COVID Safety Protocols we are ready to adapt and implement any further guidance or regulations that emerge before the festival,” read a statement from founder Alex Trenchard and his team.
“The lack of clear and timely guidance and the absence of Government backed insurance has been a challenge not only to ourselves but to the entire festival industry. Now is the time for Government to go beyond words of confidence and finally step forward with the long called for Government backed insurance for the festival sector.
“A heartfelt thank you goes out to our audience, those who supported us in rolling over their 2020 tickets, new 2021 ticket holders, the Crowdfunder supporters, the Cultural Recovery Fund, the local community, staff, suppliers and artists for getting us to this point today.”
Festival organisers said they have been working with colleagues at Certific and Imperial College London in the development of a COVID transmission risk assessment system that has been positively received by the Local Public Health Authority.
“We are looking forward to sharing full details with ticket holders over the coming weeks,” they added.
Health Secretary Javid used his maiden speech in his new role in the House of Commons on Monday as an opportunity to speak of the lifting of lockdown restrictions as “the start of an exciting new journey” for the UK. He said the country must find a way to live with COVID-19, and expressed optimism that restrictions would be lifted as planned next month, meaning limits on social contacts would end.
In response, Michael Kill chief executive of the Night Time Industries Association, said: “With the positive results from the Event Research Programme, the Government alleviation of capacity restrictions for sports events – and even this afternoon with rain at Wimbledon closing the roof, which created a similar environment to an arena space for 15,000 tennis fans – we are left to wonder why our industry remains closed.”
“That said, we have been buoyed by the remarks of Sajid Javid, the new Health Secretary, about the need to remove restrictions irreversibly and as soon as possible. He must make good on this now so that the July 19 really is the terminus date – when we can open fully and experience culture again.
“During this extended period of closure businesses and workers need to be supported through the extension of current government financial reliefs. They cannot be expected to pick up further debt whilst waiting for the opportunity to open.”
It has also been confirmed that Tramlines Festival will go ahead at full capacity over the same weekend after becoming the latest event to be added to the UK’s Events Research Programme. Last week it was announced that Latitude will also be held as a test event.