Flares and pyrotechnics now officially banned at music festivals

Bringing flares into English and Wales music festivals now can land you up to three months in prison.

As of today (April 3), a new Policing and Crime Act has made the possession and use of flares and pyrotechnics at music festivals illegal in England and Wales.

If you’re planning to pack some fireworks for your Glastonbury or Reading and Leeds trips, you might want to think again. A new law has taken effect that bans the use of any “pyrotechnic article” at the risk of up to three months in prison and/or a fine.

As reported by solicitor Alex Chapman, this law follows “considerable public demand” as MPs urged to implement the law a year ago following the banning of pyrotechnics in UK football stadiums.


The law describes a “pyrotechnic article” as “an article that contains explosive substances, or an explosive mixture of substances, designed to produce heat, light, sound, gas or smoke, or a combination of such effects, through self-sustained exothermic chemical reactions”.

This includes smoke bombs, too. Luckily for cold campers this doesn’t include matches – though they do fit the technical description.

The law’s jurisdiction extends to all major festivals across England and Wales. The actual sentencing guidelines have not been confirmed, however, Alex Chapman writes, “it should be noted that the maximum sentence is identical to that for entering a football ground with a firework”.


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If you need to reconsider your flare purchases, you have until the 3-25 June when Glastonbury will once again return to Worthy Farm with Radiohead, Foo Fighters and Ed Sheeran as confirmed headliners.

Glastonbury recently released the first line up featuring Katy Perry, The National, Lorde and The xx to name a few.