Independently owned, 17,000-capacity festival Standon Calling will celebrate its 15th anniversary on 22-25 July, just three days after the planned Step 4 of the prime minister’s conditional reopening roadmap on 19 July.
Despite a lack of Government-backed cancelation insurance and official Covid mitigation event guidelines having not been released, Standon Calling owner Alex Trenchard told Access he is confident the event will be able to go ahead following the new secretary of state for health and social care Sajid Javid and the prime minister’s comments yesterday, 28 June, that 19 July would see the end of Covid restrictions.
“I felt that it was a bullish update from [Sajid Javid] yesterday,” said Trenchard. “That, on top of the prime minister calling 19 July a terminus date, added to all the work we have been doing over the past four months with Imperial College London and an app called Certific, has effectively put us in a positive frame of mind that we can go ahead.”
Trenchard said that following the publication of the Events Research Programme first round report, he understands that Covid-safe event guidance will imminently be made available by Government.
“We are confident that all the work we have been doing means we have got ahead of that guidance and we are in a good position when it comes out,” he said.
A negative pre-event Covid lateral flow test will be a prerequisite for attending Standon Calling, mirroring similar processes seen at the Government’s test events. The results of the tests will be fed into verification app Certific.
Trenchard said a Covid transmission risk assessment system developed by the festival team has been positively received by its local Public Health Authority: “We have been working on a pre-event testing system for the past four months and having attended the Sefton Park and Download pilot events, it is a similar test-at-home pre-event testing system. The real benefit of the Certific app is that there is a really good level of verification, it allows you to film yourself taking the lateral flow test.”
Once the test is verified and certified as having been done correctly by Certific, users are provided with a pass that allows attendees to go through an initial threshold on the festival site, before a second gate where tickets are shown.
“The whole point is that you do the test and get it verified as negative at home so you don’t travel to the site before establishing that you do not have Covid,” said Trenchard.
Standon Calling, of which Broadwick Live owns a minority share, was the recipient of a Cultural Recovery Fund grant from the Government of more than £400,000.
Trenchard said that the money is being used to fund the build and pay the suppliers of this year’s event: “In our view the point of the Cultural Recovery Fund was to put the money into the supply chain, so that is what we have done while working with our suppliers to push the exposure to the costs as far back as possible.
“One of the reasons we are able to go ahead is that Standon Calling has quite a short build time, it is a medium-size festival of 17,000. It only has a two-week build schedule, and so that has allowed us to push the costs back as far as possible. Our suppliers have been amazing. Without them we couldn’t have done this.”
The feedback from ticket buyers has been extremely positive, said Trenchard: “The festival has a multi-generational audience from the south east of England and 99% of them have been incredibly excited. We have had a few people that are unsure, but we were expecting a few more of those – and they are all asking if they can roll tickets over to 2022”.
Standon Calling is due to take place from 22-25 July on the grounds of Standon Lordship, near Standon, Hertfordshire. The line-up will include Hot Chip, Primal Scream and Del La Soul.