- 03 Aug 21
The campaign to allow Electric Picnic to proceed in September intensified today, with MCD issuing a release that sets out 12 compelling reasons why the go ahead should be given by Government. Not least is the fact that gigs are taking place free of restrictions in Northern Ireland...
The Government is under increasing pressure to give permission for the Electric Picnic festival to go ahead in September. This afternoon, MCD, who are involved in the festival alongside Festival Republic issued a unique press release setting out "12 Reasons Why Electric Picnic Should Go Ahead".
Among the reasons given – which amount to a compelling case in favour of proceeding with the Stradbally event – is the fact that full-scale gigs are already happening in Ireland, without any audience restrictions. “Thousands of music fans will cross the border,” the release says, "to attend live music concerts taking place in Belfast’s Custom House Square (without restrictions) featuring artists such as Tom Jones, James Arthur, Kodaline, Fontaines DC, Nile Rodgers & Chic, Scooter.”
This festival event will be followed by the Belsonic Festival, which will also operate without restrictions. Meanwhile, Scotland today announced the further lifting of restrictions, with the TRNSMT Scotland event scheduled to go ahead from 10th – 12th September 2021.
The release also cites the decision taken last week to allow crowds of up to 40,000 attend GAA matches in Croke Park, as well as increased numbers at sporting events of all kinds.
“There is a real need for the Government to grasp the nettle,” Hot Press editor Niall Stokes said. “The entire music industry has been hit in a completely disproportionate way by the restrictions imposed since the first lockdown began in March 2020. Every indication is that there is a real willingness within the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, and on the part of the Minister Catherine Martin, to press ahead in a positive spirit and to make events happen.
“The whole Cabinet needs to buy into that spirit. But that will require the Taoiseach Micheal Martin to take a personal interest, and deal directly with whatever obstacles might still be in place. I would urge him to do that before it is too late for this year’s event and to enable Electric Picnic 2021 to happen.”
Speaking on RTÉ's News at One yesterday, Melvin Benn – the Managing Director of Festival Republic, which runs the Electric Picnic – said that he is "100% fully expecting the Electric Picnic to be going ahead on the basis (that) 100% nobody has told me I won't be able to."
Bizarrely, the current guidelines on organised outdoor events impose a limit of 500 people attending venues with a capacity greater than 5,000 – though clearly this measure has been torn up for the All Ireland Championship.
"I'm investing,” Melvin Benn told RTE, "and all of the teams are investing in the effort to try and make sure that the Picnic can happen by presuming that we are going ahead and I'm saying presuming that we are going ahead, because let's be 100% clear here, nobody's told me I can't go ahead."
"I very actively believe that the Electric Picnic will take place. I say that because I can't see any reason at this point in time why it wouldn't take place at the end of September."
On how the event would be run, Benn stated: "The intention would be that the full 70,000 people that the licence that is applied for would attend.
"I am in some ways bowing to the pressure that exists by declaring that only those people that are fully vaccinated or immune because they've had the virus in the last six months can attend, work or perform at the event."
Electric Picnic is currently planned for the weekend of September 24th to 26th.
The full list of reasons published by MCD today reads as follows:
12 Reasons Why Electric Picnic Should Go Ahead
Electric Picnic will be restricted to individuals who are fully vaccinated 14 days prior to event.
There will be no entry permitted to those who are not fully vaccinated.
Advance registration for Department of Health contact tracing.
Approved Event Management Plan implementing extensive health and safety requirements.
The above proposed measures would be even more restrictive than the current regulations applicable to indoor hospitality; the rules governing international travel; large sporting events currently being organised by the GAA, IRFU and the FAI with up to 40,000 attendees.
3 million adults will be double vaccinated by early September, according to the HSE. As of this week there are more people vaccinated in Ireland than the UK, yet in Ireland we are not permitted to produce events.
There has been no evidence produced to date showing that any of the Government of Ireland supported music pilot events held last June, or the many recent international events including the British Grand Prix (140,000 spectators 70% of whom camped for 3 days), last week’s UK Latitude music festival (40,000 per day across 3 days) along with the thousands of live arena shows taking place around the world, have resulted in any spike or direct increase in covid numbers.
TRNSMT Scotland is going ahead from 10th – 12th September 2021. Scotland previously imposed more stringent conditions than Ireland.
From next week onwards, thousands of music fans from the Republic of Ireland will cross the border to attend live music concerts taking place in Belfast’s Custom House Square (without restrictions) featuring artists such as Tom Jones, James Arthur, Kodaline, Fontaines DC, Nile Rodgers & Chic, Scooter etc. https://www.customhousesquare.com
The industry is about to lose yet another full summer, something no other sector has suffered. The whole sector and that of the livelihood of 35,000 people employed have been totally and disproportionately impacted above all other sectors by this pandemic.
The Government have highlighted that the “live entertainment and music sectors are in danger of collapse” and a clear plan for their return is needed.
Over 500 days closed, our sector was the first to close and we are STILL fully closed.