HITS Daily Double


Nine events in the first phase of the U.K.'s Events Research Programme recorded just 28 cases of COVID-19 among 58k participants. Despite the positive results, the government's report cautions that spread of the Delta variant could increase infection figures at future events.

The U.K. government published the results following legal action from the live music business, which is calling further delays in reopening “completely unfair.”

The study gathered data from events, which included The BRIT Awards, on behavior, movement, ventilation and testing. Results show that with mitigating factors, such as social distancing, face coverings and staggered entry and exit times, events can be conducted more safely at increased capacities while maintaining a low risk of transmission.

At the time of the pilots, it says, there were “relatively low levels of community prevalence of COVID-19.” In addition, with just 26-31% of attendees taking voluntary PCR testing before and after events (all were required to have a negative lateral flow test before entering), evidence of direct transmission was “challenging to determine.”

Last week the U.K. live industry sued the British government for refusing to publish the results, leaving event organizers in limbo. As it stands, no decisions have been made on the full reopening of mass events—the government will set out its position on this ahead of the fourth and final phase of removing restrictions in the U.K. on 7/19.

UK Music Chief Executive Jamie Njoku-Goodwin pointed out that mass crowds will attend sporting events before that date, including 60k at Wembley for the Euros, so it’s “only right that major live music events are also able to proceed safely.” He urged the government to give the green light for events to go ahead without social distancing from 7/19.

Greg Parmley, CEO of trade body LIVE, said it’s “completely unfair that our industry finds itself stuck in seemingly interminable rounds of research before we can open when no such research is being done for other places, such as restaurants, shops or public transport. “With sensible mitigations, including simple COVID-certification, there is no reason why we should not be able to reopen on 19 July."

Results from the second phase of the Events Research Programme, which included the Download Festival, held June 18-20, are still being analyzed. The third phase will include the Latitude Festival at the end of July.