TRNSMT boss to pilot new COVID testing plan for future of live music and festivals

"If it works for 1000 people, it could be rolled out to 10,000 or to 50,000 people."

The head of Scotland’s TRNSMT Festival has outlined how he is pioneering for a quick Covid-19 testing strategy that could pave the way for the full return of music festivals next summer.

Geoff Ellis, the head of DF Concerts, is in advanced talks with an eastern European country to stage an event for 1,000 gig-goers, which will act as a pilot test for the return of live music.

If successful, he hopes that the Scottish Government will carefully consider staging a similar event.


His agreement, which relies heavily on testing concert-goers, has since been approved by the unnamed country’s equivalent of the UK’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE).

CREDIT: Roberto Ricciuti/Redferns

He told The Daily Record: “We have been working on our full capacity plan, where the audience gets tested before the gig, then the test gets uploaded on to an app, and the app allows the ticket to be validated on the phone.

“We’re keeping close details of the negotiations under wraps but the government we are dealing with is close to signing off on it.

“It would mean people are pre-tested, say 24 to 48 hours before, then temperature tested when they go in – for belt and braces.

“The pilot would be for 1000 people, then those people would be tested after the event. They will perhaps have to quarantine after the event but we are sorting out fine details.


“There is no reason why it won’t work. And if it works for 1000 people, it could be rolled out to 10,000 or to 50,000 people. Then you’re moving towards summer festivals going ahead next year.”

His scheme echoes similar calls from Festival Republic boss Melvin Benn and Glastonbury founder Michael Eavis, who have both said that testing could prove integral for both events next summer.

“There will be some sort of test. By the time August 2021 comes around, it will take 10 minutes. You can see the kids outside doing it – who can neck a pint quickest, who can do a test quickest?” Benn told NME in September.

“It will all be automated on phones. We’re in a stage where technology can really help, and the Reading & Leeds audience really understand technology. I have no pessimism about it. Of course we’ll overcome it. This year everyone was too scared – but we understand it now.”

Eavis also said last weekend that “massive testing arrangements” could be in place for Glastonbury.

TRNSMT Festival is still scheduled to take place in 2021, led by headliners The Courteeners, Liam Gallagher and Lewis Capaldi.