MPs on the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) Select Committee are set to hear from the organisers of Parklife and Boomtown on the chances of successfully planning and holding a music festival in 2021.
‘The future of UK music festivals’ inquiry begins tomorrow (January 5) and was first announced back in November following a devastating year for the music festival sector in the UK as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
Parklife co-founder Sacha Lord, who is also the Night-Time Economy Adviser for Greater Manchester, and Boomtown’s Communications and Strategy Director Anna Wade will both speak during tomorrow’s opening hearing, which will take place remotely due to the pandemic.
Jamie Njoku-Goodwin (CEO, UK Music), Paul Reed (CEO, Association of Independent Festivals) and Steve Heap (General Secretary, Association of Festival Organisers) will also take part in the hearing, which will examine “what is required for UK-based music festivals to survive the impact of Covid-19 and the health and financial barriers to planning festivals in 2021”.
“The calls for Government-backed cancellation insurance for events and the likely impact of the Covid-19 vaccine roll-out on the viability of events are expected to be discussed,” a press release states. “The session will also focus on the impact of the Government’s financial support measures so far, including the Culture Recovery Fund.”
The hearing begins at 10am tomorrow, and it will be available to livestream here.
The inquiry is taking place as uncertainty continues to prevail over the fate of the UK’s festival season in 2021 due to the ongoing impact of the pandemic.
Glastonbury founder Michael Eavis said over the weekend that he hopes the festival, which was cancelled in 2020, would be able to return this summer providing that the “majority” of the UK’s population is vaccinated against coronavirus by June. In December, Emily Eavis stressed that Glastonbury 2021 has “not [been] cancelled yet”.
Speaking to NME back in September, Reading & Leeds boss Melvin Benn maintained that “everyone will be tested” for coronavirus at this year’s planned dual festivals.
“We don’t need a vaccination because we can work through the problem with a really good testing regime. We’ll be able to do this by next year ,” he said.
“If there is a vaccine, there will be sufficient for the old and the vulnerable. Young people can resist it. The government know that now. In March and April, they didn’t know that. Everybody was shit-scared and that’s inevitable, but as we’ve learned more, we know the strong and healthy are able to survive it.”
Last month, Primavera Sound festival staged a successful trial which investigated the possibility of holding live music events without social distancing.