Umbrella industry organisation Live music Industry Venues & Entertainment (LIVE) has dismissed reports that a new strain of the Delta Covid-19 variant has emerged from Vision Nine’s 50,000-capacity Boardmasters festival in Cornwall as “completely baseless”.
The organisation has issued media with a Covid And Festivals Key Facts document with the aim of clarifying information relating to Covid transmission and festivals. It quotes Dr Susan Hopkins, Covid-19 strategic response director at Public Health England who said “there is no evidence to date that the surge in cases linked to festivals relates to a new variant or strain.”
She said the situation is continually being monitored: “We are consistently reviewing all sequencing data to monitor and assess the emergence of new variants and do this for any surge in cases.”
Following Boardmasters, which took place on 11-15 August, health officials said around 4,700 people had tested positive after attending the event or having had connections to it. Subsequently, it was reported in national media that a new Delta strain was believed to have emerged among attendees at the Cornwall event.
The LIVE document points out that Covid testing data from attendees of festivals involved in the Events Research Programme, including the 40,000-capacity Latitude and Tramlines, indicated a prevalence of infections at the shows similar to and “certainly no higher than” the level in the general community.