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Louder Than War LogoSo long the spine of the music scene the outdoor festivals are again under threat from the pandemic. The logistics of putting on a big event in the virus times make them difficult. So far there have been no cancellations and the state of play is still under flux. This week Emily Eavis said that Glastonbury has not been cancelled yet quashing rumours started bizarrely by a Spice Girl.

Can certain festivals still be made to happen? Will enough vaccines have got out there by the summer to create enough breathing space? Will there be enough testing to make sure crowds are safe? Will testing be part of the ticket price? What are the logistics of testing? Will testing be part of the ticket price? Does being in the outdoors help enough? Will the virus have ebbed in the summer months and be dented by the vaccines enough? Will international travel actually be happening by then? Will designer masks become this summer’s item like designer wellies were?

And then there is the insurance in the UK. The lack of coronavirus insurance was the “biggest barrier” to events resuming in the UK. Germany has recently announced a £2.3bn event cancellation fund, in line with several other European countries. It feels like this government has little interest in music and the arts – with their Brexit fumbles and the chaos over visas and carnets and now this lack of commitment to insurance its like we are handing everything on a plate to Europe.

Such a situation puts the UK at a “competitive disadvantage”, UK Music’s chief executive Jamie Njoku-Goodwin warned.

“The real danger here is that, if we see a lot of countries – particularly in Europe and closer to home – protecting their festival seasons, you could almost have a talent transfer,” he told the committee.

There are so many variables but its not impossible. We are in the pandemic dark zone at the moment and numbers are at their highest ever but they may start coming down in March. Trouble is festivals take a lot of long term planning. Major acts have to be booked months in advance but surely this is an opportunity for a headline act to make themselves available at short notice – get into the spirit of things if they can be made to happen.

it’s going to be touch and go and the virus calls the shots but with nimble thinking, will power and a willingness to make things happen safely there is still an opportunity to somehow salvage something.

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Award winning journalist and boss of Louder Than War. In a 30 year music writing career, John was the first to write about bands such as Stone Roses and Nirvana and has several best selling music books to his name. He constantly tours the world with Goldblade and the Membranes playing gigs or doing spoken word and speaking at music conferences.


  1. ‘the virus calls the shots’ how naive you are John. Its the government the opposition the big pharma govt advisers and backers (bill gates) that call the shots. Funny how this ‘alternative’ site peddles the same drivel and narrative as the mainstream. Sad sell out you are John. Clueless.

    • Maybe you could post your stoned mates YouTube conspiracy video that proves your point. Would be fascinated to hear your laughable theories on the pandemic as you obviously find it hard to cope with the reality of the situation. I guess you won’t be having the vaccine or any other Medicines or treatments as they are all made by big pharma. Bill Gates has been busy! We are all brainwashed by Bill , dribbling ha ha . Also I’m not sure how you managed to comment on here without using computers or the internet – please tell about your alternative means of communication.

    • So thousands of medical professionals, scientists across multiple disciplines, who’s training involves years of critical analysis of data and information are more easily fooled that you John Jack?
      Maybe you’re wasted sitting at home in your pants watching youtube, maybe you could come on to the wards and help out, or sort out climate change.


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