A scientific study conducted at the vast EXIT Festival in Serbia discovered zero cases of Covid-19 being transmitted amongst attendees.
More than 300 music fans were tested before and at least seven days after the event, which welcomed a crowd of 180,000 earlier this month, with not a single visitor found to have contracted the virus.
The study, conducted by Novi Sad Health Centre and Project Lab, divided 345 volunteers into two groups – vaccinated and those who entered the festival with a negative test. They were tested before entering the festival, from July 8 to 10, and only one person was positive, who was subsequently not allowed to attend.
The testing was repeated after seven days, from July 15 to 17, with not one person testing positive for Covid-19.
Organisers said the study indicated the effectiveness of the ‘Safe Events Serbia’ security protocol deployed at the festival. They also pointed to no rise in case numbers in the local Novi Sad region despite tens of thousands of visitors, while just one positive PCR test has been returned from the more than 20,000 foreign visitors who attended.
“With rigorous entry control, such research results were expected. It will take some time to get the final analysis results, but it can already be said, both based on research and the daily number of newly infected people in Novi Sad, that the EXIT Festival was not a place of mass infection with the virus,” said Veselin Bojat, the director of the Novi Sad Health Centre.
Access restriction measures at EXIT Festival included more than 16,000 checks of visitors with a Digital Green Certificate, of which as many as 95% were immunised by vaccination. For all those who did not have a valid Digital Green Certificate, free testing was organised.
In five days, 18,336 people were tested, and only 10 or 0.05 percent of those tested were positive and not allowed to enter the festival.
Visitors from abroad were checked in accordance with the documentation with which they entered the country, which in most cases was a PCR test. Organisers expected music fans from more than 70 countries to attend.
“Research from EXIT proves that even during a pandemic, a means and a model can be found according to which even the largest events can take place completely safely,” said Dušan Kovačević, the founder and director of EXIT.
“This research is our contribution to the struggle of the entire music industry for far better treatment in Europe and other countries than has been the case so far.
“We have proven that we have been treated unfairly in the past, and that there are no longer any arguments and justifications that can allow gatherings at sporting events, in cafes or shopping malls, and not at concerts and festivals. I call on our entire industry to, just like we have fought and won in Serbia, join forces and fight for the fair treatment of our industry on the international level.”
Image: Exit Festival / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 / Edited for size