- 14 Jun 21
There's been no confirmation yet for Ireland's biggest festival, as countries all across Europe see their own open air events return. But the positive momentum in other jurisdictions will be hard to ignore...
Electric Picnic may yet make its return in 2021! That statement might have seemed like a pipe dream four weeks ago. However, the momentum towards a full scale return to live outdoor events has gathered pace with the announcement by the Dutch government that the Netherlands will return to full capacity live music and sporting events from June 30.
According to The Stadium Business, the government's decision is based on research conducted by Fieldlab Events – a government-backed initiative which has represented the Dutch events sector during the Covid-19 pandemic.
After holding a number of test events across multiple sectors, the Dutch government said Fieldlab had concluded that all types of events can take place safely when a Covid-19 test is used in advance and the inflow and outflow of visitors is controlled.
Social distancing and mask wearing will not be required any more, Hot Press has confirmed. However, visitors will need to be tested for Covid-19 in advance or have a vaccination or recovery certificate.
For the first four weeks of the 'full capacity' regime, only one-off events will be permitted. However, the further good news is that multi-day events are set to resume on July 28. That's over a month ahead of when Electric Picnic is normally scheduled to take place – adding to hte hope that Ireland's premiere festival might yet be given the green light for 2021.
The Netherlands joins the growing list of European countries, including Belgium and Denmark, who are lifting all restrictions on live music and other types of events as Covid numbers fall and the percentage of people being vaccinated rises.
The Danish government will lift all restrictions for 'standing concerts' from September 1st, while the Belgian government announced that large-scale events of up to 75,000 people may take place from August 13th.
All three nations have seen steady decreases in Covid-19 cases, with the Netherlands reporting just over 1000 new cases per day, per a population of 17.2 million. That is a case load on a similar level to Ireland's current daily numbers.
The easing of restrictions in mainland Europe offers hope to those at home wishing to attend full-on outdoor events in music and sport – including the tantalising prospect of a full capacity Electric Picnic (capped at 70,000 people) early in September.
Pilot events are being held around Ireland over the summer, kicked off by James Vincent McMorrow's live gig to an audience of 500 at the Iveagh Gardens last Thursday.
— James Vincent McMorrow (@jamesvmcmorrow) June 13, 2021
A number of concerts are also set to take place at the INEC in Killarney, University Limerick Concert Hall, the Róisín Dubh in Galway, and the Cork Opera House throughout June and July, along with a comedy event in Vicar Street. There is also a 'festival'-style gig in the Phoenix Park, planned for July – though the details have yet to be announced.
Sporting events at the RDS, Tallaght Stadium, Turner's Cross, Morton Stadium and The Curragh will proceed, as well as 3,000 people attending Croke Park to watch the Camogie National League Finals.
Electric Picnic remains unconfirmed, but other Irish open air festivals - such as Longitude and Forbidden Fruit - have been cancelled for this summer.
Back in April 2021, it was confirmed that outdoor transmission in Ireland accounts for a mere 0.1% of the State’s Covid-19 cases.
According to the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC), of the 232,164 cases of Covid-19 recorded in the State up to March 24 this year, just 262 were as a result of outdoor transmission.
The relatively low number of cases resulting from outdoor transmission in the Republic is mirrored in international studies.
Many of the biggest music festivals in the US ― Lollapalooza, Bonnaroo, This is Tomorrow, Latitude Festival, and Outside Lands ― have returned with events scheduled for the summer or autumn, while others like Coachella have announced 2022 dates.
In the UK, Latitude Festival will return in 2021 from July 22-25 at Henham Park, Suffolk. Wolf Alice, The Chemical Brothers, Bastille and Bombay Bicycle Club will act as headliners.