Buying festival tickets is still a risky business, says vaccines minister

Laura Sharman
·3-min read
<p>Revellers walk along a track at the last Glastonbury Festival held in 2019</p> (Reuters)

Revellers walk along a track at the last Glastonbury Festival held in 2019

(Reuters)

Buying festival tickets is risky because the UK is not guaranteed to exit lockdown, according to the UK’s vaccines minister.

Nadhim Zahawi said those who chose to book festival tickets were still taking a risk even though Britain is on course to lift all restrictions by June 21.

If case numbers remain low there is no reason why the UK won’t open up as planned, but the government has stressed that they will ease restrictions based on “data not dates”.

Millions of tickets have already been purchased and some festivals, including Reading, Field Day and Creamfields, have sold out.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today, Mr Zahawi said: “If you are now booking, then you do carry some risk, clearly because we have to follow the data.

“The good news is that vaccinations are working. About 70 per cent of the adult population of England now have antibodies, almost two-thirds have had a single dose, a quarter have had two doses.

“(There are) lots of really good things, but we have to remain cautious and we will continue to look at the data. But the good news is May 17 looks good, June 21 looks good too.”

If the lockdown roadmap goes to plan, festival goers will not have to socially distancePR handout
If the lockdown roadmap goes to plan, festival goers will not have to socially distancePR handout

Major milestones for festivals and music venues are fast approaching in the UK’s roadmap out of lockdown.

From May 17 at the earliest, indoor venues can host performances with a capacity of either 1,000 people or half-full, whichever is lower.

This increases to 4,000 or half-full at outdoor venues or up to 10,000 or quarter-full at the nation’s largest open air venues.

Latitude and Reading are among those expected to go ahead this yearJen O’Neill
Latitude and Reading are among those expected to go ahead this yearJen O’Neill

From June 21, it is hoped all social distancing rules will be removed meaning all festivals can go ahead.

Festivals that have already announced their line-ups include Love Supreme, Latitude, WOMAD, Tramlines.

In London, Kaleidoscope, at Alexandra Palace, Gala, at Peckham Rye Park, and South Facing, at Crystal Palace Bowl, are also set to go ahead.

Creamfields, which sold out in “record breaking time” is hoping to go ahead as planned in August along with Reading and Leeds festival.

Mr said those booking festival tickets “do carry some risk”EPA
Mr said those booking festival tickets “do carry some risk”EPA

Field Day, originally scheduled to take place at The Drumshed in north London, will now take place on the August bank holiday weekend at its “spiritual home” of Victoria Park, east London.

Last week, organisers of hundreds of live music festivals feared they may be forced to pull the plug if the government did not follow other European countries and offer Covid cancellation insurance.

Boomtown festival, which sold out its 66,000 tickets in February, became one of the latest to cancel its event due to the lack of such an insurance scheme.

Festivals are selling out but vaccines minister warns buying tickets is still a riskPA Archive
Festivals are selling out but vaccines minister warns buying tickets is still a riskPA Archive

The vaccine minister also shared his hopes for coronavirus to be treated like “flu” by next year, stoking hopes that Glastonbury will be able to return in 2022.

In an interview with Sky News, Mr Zahawi said: “ I want to give the scientists as many choices of vaccines to be able to use as a booster.

Glastonbury is among festivals to postpone their events until 2022PA Wire
Glastonbury is among festivals to postpone their events until 2022PA Wire

“I think we will begin by next year to hopefully move from pandemic to endemic and treat it like we would do with a flu vaccination programme.”

Meanwhile ,health secretary Matt Hancock received his Covid-19 jab at the Science Museum from England’s deputy chief medical officer Jonathan Van-Tam.

Speaking on Twitter, he said: “Brilliant! Got the jab. In & out in 8 minutes. Didn’t hurt at all. Massive thanks to JVT & the @sciencemuseum team. When you get the call, get the jab!”

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