Superstruck Entertainment’s Truck festival (cap. 10,000) and some of Kilimanjaro’s (DEAG) recently acquired Let’s Rock (15,000) festival series have been cancelled within hours of the Government declining to provide a publication date of the Events Research Programme (ERP) report.
Some four months after the ERP was first announced, in Parliament today, 22 June, Cardiff Central MP Jo Stevens tabled an urgent question asking if Government would make a statement on the results of the Events Research Programme.
She pointed out the impact the delay to Step 4 of the reopening timeline and the delay to the publication of the Events Research Programme was having on the events industry, despite reports that only 15 of 15,800 ERP participants had tested positive for Covid.
Parliamentary under-secretary of state for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) Nigel Huddleston (pictured) said Government was not yet in a position to publish the full report: “I can assure the House that post-event data is closely monitored and has not shown any evidence of the events causing outbreaks. If they had we would have communicated that information urgently.”
Pushed to provide a date for the publication of the report he said, “[We] are in frequent contact with stakeholders across the variety of sectors that are reliant on the results of the Events Research Programme. It’s absolutely our intent to release the report prior to Step 4. We want to make sure that the events sector has the relevant guidance so that they can help to open as effectively and efficiently as possible as soon as they are able to.”
Stevens asked if the publication of the report had been delayed by the prime minister: “Organisations involved in the ERP have told me that a report was produced by DCMS with those good results but they were not allowed to see it. They also told me that No. 10 refused to allow the report to be published last week because it didn’t fit with the communications grid.”
Huddleston avoided answering the question but he went on to promise that the report would be published “very soon”, and that the guidance will be “practical clear and simply put.”
Following the debate, Greg Parmley, CEO of industry body LIVE said the Government’s refusal to publish the data from the ERP has left the live music industry in the dark about how and when it will be able to reopen.
“We have worked tirelessly with the Government to produce the scientific evidence needed to reopen at full capacity,” said Parmley. “This is why we have participated and paid for pilot events that have taken place over the last two months. These events were a huge success and show, alongside every other international pilot, that with the right mitigations full capacity live events are safe.”
Truck’s organisers said they had “explored every possible avenue” to make the event happen this year but blamed the delay to the roadmap and a lack of “necessary assurances and guidance from the Government” for making it too risky to progress with plans for the festival.