Little to no COVID-19 cases broadcast at music festivals such as the Serbian EXIT festival and the Latitude festival in Suffolk promise the return of the live music industry.
With COVID-19 restrictions lifted in many parts of the world, many are hoping for the live music industry to return soon.
The EXIT Festival in Serbia appears to have been the most successful full capacity event to date, with no COVID-19 cases detected out of the crowd of 180,000. A scientific study conducted at the festival tested 300 participants before and after the event and no transmission of the virus was found.
The Novi Sad Health Center and Project Lab conducted the study and highlighted the effectiveness of Safe Events Serbia and its health and safety protocols. Visitors were checked for the digital green certificate and over 18,336 were tested in the festival’s free test. The documents for those who came from abroad to attend the festival were also checked. Any visitor who received a positive COVID test result was not allowed to enter the festival.
Although the final results of the study are not yet clear, Veselin Bojat, director of the Novi Sad health center, said that “the EXIT festival was not a place of mass infection with the virus”.
The Latitude Festival, the UK’s first major event since the restrictions were lifted, has reported that only 20 of the 40,000 attendees tested positive after the event. The UK government has stressed that it is too early to understand the full implications of the event, which was a pilot for the event research program. Although attendees were required to provide proof of vaccination or negative test results, no masks or social distancing were enforced at the Suffolk festival.
In Hungary, foreign visitors were allowed to take part in the country’s three car races. Visitors must present a negative COVID test before entering the country in order to participate in the FIA Truck Racing Championship, the Hungarian Formula 1 Grand Prix or the FIA World Touring Car Cup.
While the restrictions on large gatherings and nightclubs in Scotland have not yet been lifted, First Minister Nicole Sturgeon has said that there are “really strong reasons for optimism” for the restrictions to be lifted. The number of cases in Scotland has decreased as vaccination rates have increased.
Sturgeon has since announced that Scotland’s Freedom Day will take place on August 9th. COVID restrictions on businesses and nightclubs will be lifted completely, and social distancing laws will also be lifted. Face covering must still be worn indoors.
Other European countries including Switzerland, France, the Netherlands, Denmark and Belgium have lifted restrictions or have plans for concerts and events at full capacity.
Several music festivals have been held in the United States, including Rolling Loud in Miami and Lollapalooza in Chicago. Country star Blake Shelton performed in front of a packed audience at the Cheyenne Frontier Days Festival in Wyoming. Transmission results of these events are not yet available.
Despite the return of live music in other parts of the world, the live music and entertainment sector was one of the few sectors in Ireland to remain completely closed during the lockdown. The Music & Entertainment Association of Ireland (MEAI) warned of a “summer of silence” and in late July asked the Taoiseach in a strongly worded letter to consider reopening the live music sector.
These events, among other things, raise hope for the return of the live music industry. Although the full impact of these events is still unknown, citizens and governments alike hope for a return to a full live music and entertainment industry soon.