Newly published guidance specific to the organisation of festivals and COVID-19 has been published by the Events Industry Forum (EIF). It is designed to assist festival organisers, safety advisory groups, local directors of public health and other industry parties in assessing risk levels and planning festivals based on a flexible, pragmatic and realistic approach to the current pandemic.

The planning framework is a live document, and will be updated on a monthly basis. It has been developed by a coalition of industry bodies including the Association of Independent Festivals (AIF), the Association of Festival Organisers (AFO), the Events Industry Forum (EIF) and Attitude Is Everything.

The working group also includes the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and Public Health England (PHE), which provided input on the development of the guidance.

The new COVID-19 planning guidance is available for free on The Purple Guide website and outlines planning considerations with the purpose of supporting festival organiser,s as well as relevant authorities and agencies in taking a bespoke risk assessment approach, where events are able to follow Government guidance and regulations.

It covers eight key themes and COVID-19 safety measures, including medical and welfare arrangements, crowd considerations, response plans, security, site adjustments, and specific mitigation measures.  

As the guidance is updated regularly, members of the working group will run monthly webinars to update the festival sector and others. Agencies at a national level are being invited to provide input on an ongoing basis.

Paul Reed, CEO of the AIF, said: “Risk mitigation is what festival promoters do for a living, so the intent of this guidance is to outline COVID-19 specific planning considerations that will allow for bespoke risk assessment approaches in liaison with relevant authorities and agencies. I’d like to thank the AIF Ops Group for leading on this important piece of work and also DCMS, PHE officials and the wider festival industry for their invaluable contributions.”

Steve Heap, general secretary of the AFO, commented: “Next summer may seem far away but, in terms of festival planning, it is right around the corner. UK festivals are a world leading industry and, with tools such as this in place, we are ready to re-emerge and stage Covid-safe and successful festivals in 2021.”