Deer Shed Festival to operate socially distanced despite planned lifting of rules

"We are still being cautious, but we do intend to party!"

Deer Shed Festival will host a socially distanced event this summer, despite outlined plans to lift all remaining coronavirus restrictions by June 21.

Organisers confirmed last month that Deer Shed 2021 – scheduled for between July 30-August 1 – would not take place due to the lack of government insurance, a “hurdle” that posed a significant financial risk.

It has now been announced, however, that a scaled-back event called Base Camp Plus will be held at Baldersby Park in Thirsk, North Yorkshire across the same weekend.

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Dubbed “a safe camping weekend”, the festival will be headlined by Dream Wife, Jane Weaver and Porridge Radio, with a host of comedy, activities, workshops and wellbeing sessions also on offer to ticketholders.

Base Camp Plus will operate under England’s current COVID restrictions, meaning that no more than 4000 people can attend (Deer Shed’s usual capacity is 10,000).

“We are limiting capacity and anticipating that there will be some restrictions still in place for events in July (some social distancing and face coverings in covered areas, for example),” organisers explained.

“If the unlocking goes to plan and it is acceptable to the powers that be, however, we may relax the rules in line with national restrictions as the summer unfolds.”

The statement added: “We are really excited about this new event. It promises both intimacy and a community spirit, but most importantly, it feels do-able. We are still being cautious, but we do intend to party!”

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You can find ticket details for Deer Shed’s Base Camp Plus here.

Dream Wife
Dream Wife. Credit: Sarah Piantadosi.

Speaking to the BBC, organiser Oliver Jones explained: “We want to make it as bullet-proof in this current environment as we can because there will be more festival cancellations and anyone who thinks the festival summer season is on is fairly deluded.”

Uncertainty over England’s proposed removal of all COVID restrictions on June 21 – and therefore the return of large-scale festivals – has emerged this week amid concern over the so-called Indian variant of the virus.

However, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said today (May 18) that there is currently no “conclusive” evidence to suggest the government “would have to deviate from the roadmap”. An official update is expected in the coming days.

Meanwhile, UK festivals such as Reading & Leeds, Isle Of Wight, All Points East and Y Not are scheduled to take place this year.

A pilot COVID event in Liverpool earlier this month saw Blossoms perform to 5000 fans, who weren’t required to wear masks or social distance during the show. Speaking to NME at the gig, Festival Republic’s Melvin Benn said he believes “festival season really can happen” with testing in place.

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