- 03 Aug 21
Little to no COVID-19 cases transmitted at music festivals like Serbia's EXIT Festival and Suffolk's Latitude Festival show promise for the return of the live music industry.
As COVID-19 restrictions are lifted in many parts of the world, many are hoping that the live music industry will soon make its return.
EXIT Festival in Serbia seems to have been the most successful full-capacity event so far, with zero COVID-19 cases detected from the crowd of 180,000. A scientific study conducted at the festival tested 300 attendees before and after the event, and no transmission of the virus was detected.
Novi Sad Health Centre and Project Lab conducted the study and emphasized the effectiveness of 'Safe Events Serbia' and its health and safety protocols. Visitors were checked for the Digital Green Certificate, and over 18,336 were tested via the festival's free testing. Documentation for those who entered the country from abroad to visit the festival were checked as well. Any visitor that received a positive COVID test result was not allowed to enter the festival.
Although the final results of the study have not been determined yet, Veselin Bojat, the director of the Novi Sad Health Centre, has said that "the EXIT Festival was not a place of mass infection with the virus."
Latitude Festival, which was the UK's first major event following the lifting of restrictions, has reported that only 20 people out of the 40,000 attendees have tested positive following the event. The British government has emphasized that it is still too early to understand the full impact of the event, which was a pilot event for the Event Research Programme. Though attendees had to provide proof of vaccination or negative test results, masks and social distancing were not enforced at the Suffolk festival.
In Hungary, foreign visitors have been allowed to attend the country's three motoring events. Visitors must present a negative COVID test before entering the country in order to attend the FIA Truck Racing Championship, Formula One Hungarian Grand Prix, or FIA World Touring Car Cup.
While restrictions for large gatherings and nightclubs in Scotland have not yet been lifted, First Minister Nicole Sturgeon has expressed that there were "really strong grounds for optimism" for the lifting of restrictions. Case numbers in Scotland have been decreasing as vaccination rates have been increasing.
Sturgeon has since announced that Scotland's 'Freedom Day' will be on August 9. COVID restrictions on businesses and nightclubs will be fully lifted, and social distancing laws will be lifted as well. Face coverings must still be worn in indoor settings.
In the United States, multiple music festivals, including Rolling Loud in Miami and Lollapalooza in Chicago, have been put on. Country music star Blake Shelton performed to a full-capacity crowd at Cheyenne Frontier Days festival in Wyoming. Transmission results from these events are not yet available.
Despite the return of live music in other parts of the world, the live music and entertainment sector was one of the only sectors in Ireland to remain completely closed during lockdown. The Music & Entertainment Association of Ireland (MEAI) warned that there may be a "summer of silence" and have urged the Taoiseach in a strongly-worded letter at the end of July to consider re-opening the live music sector.
These events, among others, increase hope surrounding the return of the live music industry. Though the full impact of these events is still unknown, citizens and governments alike are hoping for a return to a full live music and entertainment industry soon.