While many in the events industry wait eagerly for news of the roadmap for the return of shows, End Of The Road festival founder Simon Taffe has said that pushing the government to make a premature statement about the feasibility of this year’s festival season could prove “disastrous” for the industry.
Prime minister Boris Johnson is scheduled to make a statement to the House of Commons on 22 February during which he is expected to set out the government’s roadmap out of lockdown.
In an interview with The Times today, 15 February, Taffe said, “If we force an answer now on whether or not we can go ahead, it could be disastrous.”
Taffe, who has run the successful 15,000-capacity End Of The Road festival in Dorset since he launched it in 2006, said, “The fear is that they’ll open up schools, pubs and restaurants while holding festivals back until next year. But we know that the longer we wait, the more positive the situation will get.”
In a recent interview with Access, Isle of Wight Festival boss John Giddings emphasised the ability of event organisers to rise to remarkable challenges and turn shows around at short notice: “We can do things at short notice; we’ve proven that a million times. With Live Aid it took three weeks to put it together.”
Ahead of the announcement next Monday, Johnson said the government’s roadmap out of lockdown will be “cautious but irreversible”.
A group of Tory MPs has called on Johnson to commit to a “free life” and ending of lockdown measures before May.
On 14 February, the government said 15 million of the most vulnerable people across the UK had been vaccinated.
End Of The Road festival is scheduled to take place on 2-5 September, in Larmer Tree Gardens, with a line-up including The Comet Is Coming, Pixies and Whitney. Isle of Wight Festival is planned for 17-20 June with Lionel Ritchie and Duran Duran among the headliners.