Melvin Benn, Managing Director of Festival Republic, has released a detailed plan which encourages the use of festivals and live events as incentives to increase Covid-19 testing.

The ‘Full Capacity’ plan suggests that an incentive-based scheme centred around events would lead to a massive uptake in the number of Covid-19 tests taken by the general public. It would also encourage further takeup of the NHSX tracing app.


How does it work?

The plan proposes to connect access to the entertainment and hospitality sector with mandatory Covid-19 testing. Anyone wishing to attend a festival or live event would be advised to first visit a high street store where they would collect a home testing kit, and to download the NHS tracing app.

The plan aims to eliminate the need for social distancing at events.

They would then be registered via the app, and send their home testing kit back to the high street store, which would forward it on to a lab. This lab could then generate an in-app notification for users, providing the results.

Pictured left: current rates of testing from April through May. Pictured right: conjectured testing rates using an incentive-based scheme

Users who test negative would be able to use the app result as a time-limited ‘ticket’ for events. They would be required to show this negative test result at the entrance to any event they wished to attend.

The duration of this time-limited negative test would be adjustable based on the current infection rate and medical advice. By linking the certificate with the NHS trace app, upon contact with somebody diagnosed with Covid-19, the certificate can automatically expire.

The plan aims to align the needs of the event and hospitality sector with the government’s desire to increase testing among the general public. It does not aim to replace other hygiene measures at events, such as health screening upon entry, or regular cleaning of facilities.

The plan aims to align the needs of the event and hospitality sector with the government’s desire to increase testing among the general public.

However, the plan does aim to eliminate the need for social distancing. “Where sectors of the population have recently tested negative for Covid-19, social distancing amongst those people can be temporarily but safely relaxed,” it says.


When might the plan be active?

The plan proposes a provisional timeline, which can be viewed below:

Festival Republic Managing Director Melvin Benn commented: “We are currently in a position where the government has capacity to test 1.4 million people a week, but is testing less than 700k because there is no incentive. My plan is to create incentive, to test at least double the current capacity and be aiming for 12-15 million people a month being tested minimum.

“I am proposing The Full Capacity Plan to stimulate the debate about getting back to normal opening rather than partial opening because partial opening is a financial disaster. I am proposing The Full Capacity Plan because it’s simple and easy, inexpensive in comparison to the subsidies that the government is currently paying and very achievable with good organisation.”

Festival Republic is the organiser of major UK festivals including Download, Wireless, Latitude and Reading/Leeds Festival, among others.

You can download the Full Capacity Plan here.

Photo credit: Latitude 2019, Matt Eachus