UK’s music festival industry leaders are reportedly calling for government support to save this summer’s music festival season. According to insiders, the festival could face last-moment cancellations due to the staffing shortfall caused by the so-called 'pingdemic' created by the NHS Covid-19 app.
Chief Executive of the Association of Independent Festivals, Paul Reed, warned that the summer season, which has already been severely impacted by many high-profile cancellations, like Glastonbury, might be further disrupted.
According to Reed, some festivals having difficulty putting on events due to a lack of workers, including bartenders, waiters, security, and logistical firms. The association already received anecdotal reports of prominent firms isolating themselves at home because their entire staff is being pinged, preventing them from getting to the site, Reed added.
Several events have already been canceled this summer, including the Glastonbury one-day event planned for September and the Boom Village event, which was canceled due to staffing difficulties.
This weekend, test events with no social distancing or mask-wearing took place around the UK, including the 40,000-capacity Tramlines festival in Sheffield, Standon Calling, and Latitude. According to Reed, the real impact of workers being ordered to self-isolate will be observed in the coming weeks, when other significant events begin.
Tramlines festival's chief of operations, Timm Cleasby, claimed the event faced self-isolation issues but had contingency measures in place, including starting the site development two days early to allow for unanticipated delays. However, Cleasby urged the government to support a festival insurance program so that those affected by Covid-19-related issues have a safety net.
Meanwhile, Oliver Dowden, the culture secretary, has stated that the government would consider an insurance system only when it is possible for events to take place, or when lockdown limitations have been removed.
Cleasby and Reed are among a rising chorus of voices calling for the process to be accelerated so that the festivals can take place next year.