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Pilot Festival: Reviving Faith in Events

Pilot Festival: Reviving Faith in Events

Liverpool played host to the UK’s first festival of 2021. No social distancing, no rules of six and no risk of fines. Dare we hope that the event industry is on the road to recovery?

Good times are ahead…

Liverpool’s Sefton Park brought in the May bank holiday with a pilot festival. A sight to behold, the venue saw the largest legal gathering of people since the start of the pandemic. 5000 people packed together singing at the top of their lungs and dancing without a care. For most of us, it is a joyful scene having spent the past 13 months in perpetual lockdowns.

Most significantly, it is a shot in the arm for the Events industry. Arguably one of the worst affected industries, what a relentless slog it has been just to keep operating through the restrictions. This pilot festival is the light just starting to break through a very long and dark tunnel. We join our event colleagues in welcoming this first step in events revival. We look at how it all went and what it means for us as an industry.

The Event

The festival was intended to be a study in how a ‘normal’ festival would fair post restrictions. Unsurprisingly however the atmosphere was wild with people enjoying much missed freedoms. As the indie band Blossoms took to the stage they were welcomed with a riotous roar from the crowd.

“It was so crazy being back surrounded by people,” said her friend Joby Mathew, 20. “It was incredible. To be in the middle of everyone, just moving around, you feel like you’re part of something bigger than yourself.”

The event was hosted by Festival Republic, veterans of the festival scene as promotors of Leeds, Reading and Latitude. Every effort was made to bring pre-pandemic vibes to the event, forging an atmosphere that we have all missed.

“We’ve worked really hard to do everything right behind the scenes – all the testing – to create an atmosphere that didn’t feel sterile and didn’t feel as though you were in a test or a pilot show or an experiment,” managing director Melvin Benn said.

“And we’ve created an atmosphere that people will remember from 2019. People will think, this is what they have been missing.”

Festivals are at the forefront of the events industry and they are the acting front line of events as restrictions lift. How these events go this summer will dictate how the Autumn and Winter events will play out. As a result, its now more important than ever to get these pilot events in place – working out any potential kinks before the events industry truly gets underway. 

How did they pull it off?

  • All attendees had to take a supervised lateral flow test with a negative result.
  • PCR tests taken on the day and five days post event.

This first step was a well-thought-out venture that aimed to give attendees a slice of live before Covid. Safety is imperative and so all attendees had to take a supervised lateral flow test with a negative result. The lateral flow tests had to take place in one of four local testing centres. Even with prove of a negative result, guests were strongly advised to take the more accurate PCR tests on show day. Today (Friday) those same attendees will be asked to take a PCR again to ensure they haven’t contracted the virus. This final test is particularly significant as it will indicate whether there has been any spread of the virus as a result of the festival.

Also, scientists and researchers were in attendance, clip board in hand taking copious notes. Specifically looking at audience movement and interaction, ventilation, duration, and alcohol consumption. Their findings will be an important tool for ensuring a safe return for events. Their aim is to see how potential festivals this coming summer can operate safely post June 21st. The hope is that once stage four of the government roadmap is instigated, restrictions will no longer impede on events.

What’s next for events?

The event industry is holding its breath. Providing the PCR tests conducted today show that there is no significant rise in cases amongst the attendees then we have a positive first step back to normality. There will be more pilot events to come between now and June 21st so all of us in the industry are playing close attention. We will overcome this past year by being sensible and strategic.

Here at Table Art we remain optimistic. The effect of the pilot festival is already being felt – calls and emails are coming through with tentative enquires. For those of you with clients already making their initial enquiries, we are here ready to support you. Whatever the brief, we will put together a proposal to suit. Also, important to note that we have made some temporary changes to our terms and conditions. Until the vaccination process is complete, our T&Cs give you the flexibility to make a cancellation at just 2 weeks before an event. As a result, we hope you have the confidence to make bookings in the knowledge that if government guidelines change – we wouldn’t hold you to an order just 2 weeks out from an event.

Join us in taking a positive first step and let’s get the summer events started! Contact our team today for a free no obligation quotation…

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