Reading & Leeds Festival will “almost certainly” require a Covid-vaccine passport system

Festival boss Melvin Benn is still confident that both events will take place in August

Reading & Leeds Festival will “almost certainly” have a COVID-vaccine passport system in place for this year’s festivals, according to organiser Melvin Benn.

The twin festivals are currently due to go ahead as planned from August 27-29, with the likes of StormzyPost Malone and Liam Gallagher all set to play.

Speaking to the BBC earlier today (March 30), Benn said that he was still confident that both Reading and Leeds would take place this summer with the UK currently on course to lift coronavirus-enforced restrictions in the coming months.


“I’m taking the prime minister at his word that from June the legal restrictions will be off and as he and the culture secretary said: ‘We are looking forward to a summer of fun’,” Benn said.

“If it is cancelled everyone gets a refund – that’s pretty normal – but I’m certainly anticipating it going ahead,” he added.

Live music - Frank Carter
Reading Festival, 2019 (Picture: Burak Cingi/Redferns)

While admitting that it was difficult to predict what safety measures would be required in the coming months, Benn did say that it was “almost certain” that festivalgoers at both events would have to prove they were either Covid-free or had been vaccinated through a form of digital passport.

Digital ‘health’ passports are currently being trialled in the UK in an effort to restart live music safely this year, with test events at London’s 100 Club and Bristol’s The Exchange aiming to examine the effectiveness of the app You Check.

Benn also confirmed in the BBC interview that Reading & Leeds will have a dedicated Covid medical director and team on site, and that the festivals will be bound by the same safety protocols as bars and restaurants.


New York State launched a new digital vaccine passport this week in a bid to restart live events safely.

Designed in partnership with IBM, New York’s ‘Excelsior Pass’ is a free but voluntary platform that uses proven and secure technology to confirm if an individual has either been fully vaccinated against coronavirus or has recently tested negative for the virus.