Music festival added to UK government’s Events Research Programme


April 19, 2021

A new festival is set to take place in Liverpool’s Sefton Park next month as part of the government’s Events Research Programme. And there ain’t no party like a government-sanctioned party. Am I right?

The snappily-named Sefton Park Pilot is set to take place on 2 May, headlined by Blossoms, with The Lathums and Zuzu also on the bill. Produced by Live Nation’s Festival Republic, the big selling point of the event will be that punters won’t have to wear masks or maintain social distancing. The event will be used to research the transmission of COVID-19 in a festival setting, ahead of the planned lifting of pandemic restrictions in June.

“Live music is a must-have in my life, and a year without it is a year too long”, says Festival Republic’s Melvin Benn. “The Sefton Park Pilot is the most important event in the Event Research Programme for getting festivals back this year and I’m delighted to play my part. It’s not about vaccines, it’s not about passports, it’s not about limiting it to a section of society only: it’s about a universal approach to our love of live music for all and demonstrating we can do it safely”.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden adds: “We’re one step closer to a summer of live events now our science-led programme is underway. Testing different settings and looking at different mitigations is key to getting crowds back safely and the Sefton Park pilot is an important addition to the programme. After many months without live audiences, Festival Republic are bringing live music back to fans with this very special event and I hope it won’t be too much longer until gigs are back for good”.

Tickets for the event will cost £29.50 and be limited to one per person. Attendees must also be over eighteen, live and be registered with a GP in the Liverpool area, and show no signs of having COVID-19. Those who are pregnant, clinically vulnerable, shielding or living with someone who is shielding should also not attend.

COVID restrictions began to lift in various parts of the UK earlier this month, with the high street re-opening last week. Venues will follow next month, with hopes that pretty much all restrictions will be removed in England on 21 Jun. All that is subject to change, of course, though the government’s Events Research Programme is currently testing how fuller capacity events can return safely.

Previously announced events in that programme include a club night and a comedy night, although the programme at large is somewhat sports-centric. The addition of a music event of this kind is important for a live music sector that is keen to get back to business.

Greg Parmley, chief exec of live industry trade group LIVE, comments: “The addition of an outdoor music event in the line-up of ERP pilot shows is a hugely positive development and brings the summer festival season one step closer. The whole live music sector looks forward to working closely with the government to reopen our festivals and venues as soon as is safely possible”.

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