Britain's festival directors have called on the government to tell music festival-goers they must be vaccinated against COVID-19 in order to attend festivals this summer.
As people plan for life beyond the coronavirus, this summer's festival tickets are being snapped up at record pace. The government's "roadmap" out of lockdown, unveiled at the end of February, has inspired confidence in many.
Despite this, many independent festival organisers who met on Friday say events may still be in jeopardy without measures to protect patrons and artists.
Josh Robinson, events director of Hospitality Weekend in the Woods, said in remarks reported by the Guardian: “A lot of us want to urge government to follow the example set up already in other areas, like travel, where people will have to show vaccination passports.”
The calls come following news that more than 21 million people in the UK have received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine — part of the biggest inoculation programme the country has ever launched.
Music chiefs warned in the past that, aside from issues with artists travelling to and from the UK, Britain could see most summer festivals cancelled even if vaccines are rapidly rolled out in the months to come.
At the time, UK Music, the trade body for the recorded and live music sector said there was a “serious risk” of cancellations without urgent government help. It noted key decisions were already being made about whether summer events would go ahead. Glastonbury Festival has already said it will postpone its 50th anniversary for another year, to take place in 2022.
The potential introduction of vaccine passports is a contentious issue in the industry, as uncertainty about the timetable for the government's roadmap and new safety regulations mean final confirmation on dates could be further delayed still.
The UK music industry contributed £5.8bn ($8bn) to the UK economy pre-COVID and supports 200,000 people – three-quarters of whom are self-employed. UK music exports generate £2.9bn a year
In 2020, festivals saw a 90.2% drop in revenue and as much as half the live music workforce may have lost their jobs.
Watch: Could some festivals still go ahead this year?