TRNSMT boss Geoff Ellis has vowed to bring the festival back this summer despite continued uncertainty around live events due to COVID-19.
The Glasgow three-day event was cancelled in 2020 and is currently set to return in July with the Courteeners, Liam Gallagher and Lewis Capaldi topping the bill.
Ellis has now cited the successful rollout of vaccines in the UK and rapid mass testing as the key to ensure TRNSMT’s return, while warning that “it’s crunch time for summer 2021” (via Daily Record).
It comes after the Scottish government’s deputy national clinical director, John Harden, told Ellis that the significant easing of restrictions could be discussed in mid-February.
“I have been in regular contact with the Scottish government, along with other people in the industry. We have updated them with what is going on in other countries,” he said.
“The results from a trial Primavera event in Spain recently appear to be a very positive moment, as they used mass testing with rapid results to put on a major show.”
The aforementioned event, dubbed PRIMACOV, saw 1,042 music fans attend a show at Barcelona’s 1,608-capacity Sala Apolo venue last month without the need for social distancing.
Concertgoers were granted entry after taking a rapid test, the result of which was available in just 15 minutes.
“It’s looking like there were no problems with virus transmission as a result,” Ellis said of the trial, suggesting that the method could be introduced at TRNSMT.
“If you couple a similar strategy here, with the benefit of our huge vaccination drive, the situation rapidly advances to one where you can get back to doing things that have been impossible in recent times.”
He said testing and vaccinations were the “two major tools that can help society get back to normal”, adding: “I feel very optimistic that we will be talking very soon about festivals like TRNSMT going ahead this year.”
However, Ellis echoed the comments of bosses from Glastonbury and Parklife in stressing the importance of government-backed insurance for festivals (promoters recently warned MPs that their events could be cancelled as early as this month without swift action).
Association of Independent Festivals’ Chief Executive Paul Reed recently told NME that he believes it is “too early to tell whether the  season is on or off or somewhere in between”.
“Obviously we’re in a really pivotal moment in this pandemic. In some ways, summer seems distant and to some it might seem too early to be talking about the festival season – but it’s absolutely the right time to be having these conversations, giving that the incredibly lengthy lead times and planning cycles generally take six to eight months.”