- 05 Aug 21
Organisers of Electric Picnic have asked that the government interrupt their annual recess to issue a phased reopening of the live music industry, which has been closed since March 2020.
Following the license refusal for the Electric Picnic festival, The Coronas singer Danny O'Reilly has called for the Irish government to provide a "roadmap" for live music events.
On Wednesday, August 4, the Laois County Council refused to issue a license for Electric Picnic, a music festival that was set to have over 70,000 attendees. The council stated they were following the "most up-to-date public health advice made available to the council by the HSE."
O'Reilly said on RTÉ radio's Morning Ireland that the situation was "very disappointing." He explained how his problem with it was the fact that other industries seem to be receiving preferential treatment over the music industry.
The Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) seems to be one of the recipients of this preferential treatment, according to O'Reilly. He said that there may be plans for 40,000 attendees at the All-Ireland finals in Croke Park, "but we can only have 200 people at an event until the end of September."
"You see what's going on with Katherine Zappone and how quickly Fáilte Ireland can meet the Government. There was no rush for the events industry," said O'Reilly. "We're not banging down the door to let 40,000 people into a gig. We just want a plan."
He reasoned that there are many ways for venues to host events in a safe, healthy, and responsible manner, including keeping people seated and socially distanced. Free antigen testing would also provide a safer return to live music and events.
Sunil Sharpe of Give Us The Night also called for accessible and affordable testing so that live events and nightlife can return. The independent volunteer group wrote an open letter to Taoiseach Micheál Martin, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar, and Minister Catherine Martin calling for the government to reopen the nighttime sector. Read more about the open letter to the government here.
The organisers of Electric Picnic have also issued a statement to ask the government to interrupt their annual recess to consider reopening plans for live events. They asked that a phased reopening begin on August 16, with no restrictions beginning on September 1.
Last year's Electric Picnic was canceled due to the ongoing pandemic, and organisers had hoped that the September festival would still be possible. Entry requirements for the festival would include proof of vaccination or recovery from the coronavirus.
Read Hot Press Editor Niall Stokes' statement on the potential impact of the Electric Picnic decision here.