Festival Republic MD Melvin Benn said he is looking to organise a second greenfield test event, without social distancing, as part of the Government’s Events Research Programme (ERP).
Meanwhile the Government is reportedly planning on dropping the need for social distancing at events from 21 June but some restrictions could remain for larger events and masks are likely to be required at indoor shows.
Benn’s company oversaw a 5,000-capacity concert in Liverpool’s Sefton Park yesterday, 2 May, that has been hailed by culture minister Caroline Dinenage as a milestone on the path to the return of full-capacity live events. It followed two 3,000-capacity ERP events last week at Liverpool’s Circus nightclub, with acts including Fat Boy Slim and Sven Väth.
On May 11, The BRIT Awards at London’s O2 Arena will welcome 4,500 guests, without social distancing, as part of the ERP. Some 2,500 of those invited to attend the event will be key workers and their guests.
Benn told Access that Government has underwritten all ERP shows with a cancellation insurance fund of £300,000 and it undertook all the testing and data collection aspects of the Sefton Park pilot but that all other costs were absorbed by the promoter.
He said, “They are not paying for the concert and we will lose a reasonably significant amount of money but the hope is that the wider music industry will help contribute to that with what will become a music industry crowd fund – that is what I am going to try to do to pay for the loses.”
Along with Festival Republic, other live music industry operators to help stage the Sefton Park pilot event were Isle of Wight Festival director Caroline Giddings who oversaw testing for media and guests. Also involved in the event were DF Concerts and SJM.
Benn said nothing had yet been confirmed but he is “working hard” to stage a second greenfield ERP event.
Tickets for the Sefton Park show, priced £29.50, sold out. They could only be purchased by people aged 18 and over who live in the Liverpool city region. Ticket holders were required to take a rapid lateral flow test at a local testing centre 24 hours prior to entry, and were required to take a test after the event to ensure any transmission of the virus is properly monitored.
Acts to play Sefton Park included Blossoms, The Lathums and Liverpool singer-songwriter Zuzu.
Dinenage said, “[The Sefton Park show] is a momentous occasion to celebrate as fans get their first taste of a music festival for more than a year – and all in the name of science.
“We want to get audiences back to the events they love and see the live music industry rebooted.”
Separately, The Times has quoted Government sources who claim social distancing will no longer be required from 21 June and venues can reopen at full capacity, but masks will have to be worn in some cases. The report said large events will have a limit on capacity and that the European Championship final at Wembley Stadium on 11 July will be run with a 50% capacity of 45,000.
A Government source told the paper: “The evidence we’ve got so far from the pilots is very positive and the general background on data is hugely encouraging in terms of numbers, falling deaths and hospitalisations. The pilots have shown us that mitigations have worked sufficiently to allow us to remove social distancing at least in the settings that we really need to in order to get them in a viable position again. The kind of thing we are looking at is keeping mask wearing, extra ventilation, staggered entry – all of that has been shown to work so far.”