Social distancing 'bonkers' at festivals - radical plan for events like Electric Picnic touted by the event's promoter

Conor Ganly

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Conor Ganly

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newsroom@longfordleader.ie

Billie eilish electric picnic

Billie Eilish starred at Electic Picnic 2019

A clear Covid-19 test would be obligitory if someone wants to attend big music and sports events because social distancing at such major gatherings is 'bonkers' according to the man who heads up the Electric Picnic. 

Melvin Benn, managing director of Festival Republic, was interviewed on the BBC Radio 1 Newsbeat programme about the future of festivals.

He set out some ideas from a plan central to which is linking events with compulsory coronavirus testing.

He believes a negative Covid-19 test would be the key to getting into a show. He said full capacity is essential if events are to happen as long as restrictions remain.

"It's impossible for us to operate our businesses," he said.

He claims that coronavirus testing would act as a "personal incentive" to attend an event.

Mr Benn said "every single bit" of turnover for 2020 has gone.

"It can't happen two years on the trot," he said.

Up to 75,000 people were due to attend the Electric Picnic in Stradbally in 2020.

He suggests that concertgoes would be tested within either seven or 14 days before an event or whatever is determined safe.

"With that incentive, I think people will be really happy to start being tested. At the moment there is no incentive.

"It's a tough shout but it's doable because there's an incentive to be tested," he says.

Mr Benn claimed that social distancing is  "completely and utterly bonkers" due to the nature of live gigs or sports games.

His idea also involves a key role for contact tracing apps.

He also believes local information about infection rates would be taken into consideration.

He says events would also have better hygiene procedures and temperature checks prior to entry.

Festival Republic also promotes Reading and Leeds festivals in the UK. They were due to take place shortly before September's Picnic.

All events fell victim to the virus as did Glastonbury.