Ireland to consider social distancing music festivals in August as part of lockdown exit plan

Longitude was set to run over the weekend of July 4-6 in Dublin.

Ireland’s exit plan from coronavirus lockdown has revealed that festivals could return with social distancing measures later this year.

The Irish government announced on May 2 that concerts with the appropriate distance between individuals practiced could return during phase five of a plan to exit lockdown measures.

The plan laid out by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar included a roadmap of five phases that are expected to run until the summer.

Advertisement

The final phase – which will be introduced on August 10 – mentions the return of larger social gatherings, including music festivals.

But the exit plan stresses that festivals can only take place “in accordance with both indoor and outdoor number restrictions and where social distancing can be complied with.”

It could potentially pave the way for Ireland’s Electric Picnic Festival to still take place over the weekend of September 4-6.

In contrast, Dublin’s Longitude Festival recently announced it cancelled its 2020 edition due to coronavirus.

Longitude
Kendrick Lamar was set to headline Longitude 2020. Credit: Prince Williams/Wireimage

The festival was set to run over the weekend of July 4-6 in Dublin’s Marlay Park and be headlined by Kendrick LamarTyler, The Creator and A$AP Rocky.

Advertisement

Meanwhile, in Denmark, the country trialled a potential solution to the coronavirus pandemic’s effects on live performances this week, with musician Mads Langer performing a sold-out ‘drive-in’ gig.

This comes after Spanish prime minister Pedro Sánchez envisaged the country reopening in four stages last week (April 28), starting last week from phase zero which will last until May 11.

These plans contradict American healthcare expert predictions that festivals and concerts will likely not return in the US until autumn 2021. 

In a recent New York Times-hosted roundtable discussion, bioethicist and professor of healthcare management Zeke Emanuel said he had “no idea” how promoters that are rescheduling arts and music events for later this year “think that’s a plausible possibility”.

“Larger gatherings – conferences, concerts, sporting events – when people say they’re going to reschedule this conference or graduation event for October 2020, I have no idea how they think that’s a plausible possibility. I think those things will be the last to return,” Emmanuel said. “Realistically we’re talking fall 2021 at the earliest.”

Several music festivals around the world – including Governor’s Ball and the UK’s BST Hyde Park and Glastonbury – have already cancelled their 2020 events.

However, some festivals have been postponed to later in the year. These include Coachella, which pushed its April events to October, the South American editions of Lollapalooza, J. Cole’s Dreamville Festival, Live at Leeds Festival and more.

Last month, the Music Venue Trust told NME that they were in need of £1 million in donations to save grassroots music spaces affected by ongoing coronavirus closures and prevent “a disaster that will last 10 years” – and called upon successful artists and the music industry at large to help.

Donations to the Grassroots Music Venue Crisis Fund can be arranged by contacting Beverley Whitrick at beverley@musicvenuetrust.com, by calling 07809 155388, or by visiting their GoFundMe page here.

Advertisement
Advertisement