A new interim briefing has been published to provide support and strategic direction for festival organisers in the planning of festivals until the results of the Government’s Events Research Programme (ERP) and reviews on social distancing and COVID-status certification are published.

The document builds upon planning considerations published last year on the Purple Guide website and is again produced by leading practitioners from the festival industry, who continue to work in collaboration with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and Public Health England (PHE) to determine how music festivals could safely reopen with COVID-19 mitigation measures in place.

The document 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, working in partnership with leading professionals.

The interim guidance briefing note was collated and written by Emma Parkinson (Coventry University) and Jennifer Mackley (Mackley Projects and Events).

As well as providing direction until the conclusions of the ERP, the briefing note has been developed to:

  • Consider the primary scenarios and operational issues that may arise when planning and delivering an event during Covid restrictions and beyond;
  • Provide an understanding of the risks in operational areas to support a proportionate and measured approach in planning;
  • Outline practical, operational steps that may be considered to deliver safe events in accordance with relevant legislation of the day; and
  • Support event organisers and multi-agency partners to fully understand the risk of independent activities to wider public health.

Paul Reed, CEO of the Association of Independent Festivals said: “This interim guidance briefing provides strategic direction to festival organisers and includes practical mitigation measures to help them continue to plan for this summer and beyond. I’d like to thank Emma and Jennifer in particular for their work, and colleagues from across the festival sector and within DCMS and PHE for their contributions to this important step in ensuring that festivals can return safely.”

Steve Heap, general secretary of the Association of Festival Organisers, said: “Having lost almost all of the industry’s 2020 events, festival organisers are very keen to stage whatever is safely possible over the remainder of this year’s season. To do that, clear guidance is needed. The publication of this document, free to all on the Purple Guide website, provides that guidance, written by experienced festival managers with the leadership of AIF.”

Jim Winship, secretary of the Events Industry Forum, commented: “Festivals form an important part of the outdoor event economy and also contribute significantly to social wellbeing. They also take many forms and this guidance should help to enable at least some festivals to go ahead this summer.”

The guidance can be found here.