Festival Republic managing director Melvin Benn has warmly welcomed the news that the Government has ordered 200 million coronavirus rapid response tests, costing just £5 to administer, believing they will enable his incentive-based Full Capacity Plan to proceed and events to be run without social distancing.
Leaked documents seen by The Telegraph suggest Government will aquire more than 60m of the tests per month from January. The tests provide results within 15 minutes and people given a negative result could be given a “freedom pass” to attend events.
Benn, whose company operates events such as Reading (cap. 90,000), Leeds (80,000) and Latitude (35,000), issued a detailed plan in June that suggested the use of festivals and live events as incentives to increase Covid-19 testing and with a view to being able to run events without social distancing.
Benn told Access the development was at least as important as the recently announced vaccine, as there is some doubt about how soon the vaccine will be rolled out: “Having a test of this sort available with a rapid result turnaround really is the answer to making sure you can be in crowded spaces with other people that are clear of the virus, which ultimately is what we all want.
“It’s a huge step for concerts, festivals and sporting events. It is really fantastic news, it just needs to be connected into the incentive of attending an event, which was what my Full Capacity Plan has always been about. I think we will find the R rate will be driven down quite dramatically as a result of it.”
The promoter said the arrival of the quick and affordable tests is in line with his predictions that the festival season will be able to go ahead next year: “I put out the plan in June, and updated it in September, with the expectation that what is happening now would come to fruition by Easter next year and we would be good to go with festivals. I continue to be confident about that. It is very much the timetable that I had anticipated.”