The Association of Festival Organisers has always known its members are dedicated and resilient, but according to Gen. Sec Steve Heap “we really did not expect so many events to resurface in 2020.”
It was generally thought the festival season was wiped out with 95% of the usual festivals postponing to 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
By the time we got to June there were sounds of new ideas coming through with some organisers not prepared to give up just yet. Clearly their normal festivals would have to change considerably to meet the DCMS/EIF guidance for outdoor events and that is what several have done to keep the interest of their regular audiences and try and keep their festival companies and the supply chain on board.
There have been successful events in Hampshire, in Newcastle, and due to open soon festivals in Shropshire, and Berkshire. Gisburne Park Pop Ups in NE Lancashire https://www.gisburneparkpopup.com/ was one of the first featuring as a fine example of versatility on BBC Breakfast TV and still going strong as a concert and Video screen Covid safe event.
In Berkshire, Jenna Ansell and her team at MEDICINE FESTIVAL has moved heaven and earth to make their festival safe for all. They have done more than the guidance required, gaining the approval of the local licensing committee and proving to the safety advisory group and Public Health that they have a great, safe festival with unique happenings ready to deliver to a keen and enthusiastic audience. With the backing of Public Health England and DCMS, Medicine is proving that the festival scene can be revived in 2020.
Steve Heap said “ I am delighted to be proved wrong. The 2020 festival scene is not all dead, and I would encourage festival fans to give these new style events a try.”
Culture and Creative Industries Minister Caroline Dinenage said:
“Festivals and events are an important part of our vibrant and globally successful music industry. While many have been postponed this summer, it is great to see some smaller festivals begin to take place with Covid safety measures in place.
“We’re here for culture – whether that’s with our unprecedented £1.57 billion rescue fund, or by providing guidance and support to help get events and festivals back up and running.”