Electric Picnic organiser sees "no reason" why festival won't go ahead as normal this year 1 month ago

Electric Picnic organiser sees "no reason" why festival won't go ahead as normal this year

He is hopeful that the September music festival will get the green light from the government.

Electric Picnic organiser Melvin Benn has said that he can see "no reason" why the music festival won't be able to go ahead as normal in September.

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The festival is due to take place from 3 September to 5 September, and Benn told RTÉ's Morning Ireland that there is still every chance it can go ahead.

"I can see no reason why it wouldn't be. It feels relatively safe to produce an event where everybody is tested, literally everybody, the staff, the bands the festival-goers," he said.

Benn noted that Ireland is "four or five weeks behind the UK in terms of planning", however, he added that he can "see no reason why the government won't say you can be back to normal by August".

Festival Republic hosted a test concert in Liverpool's Sefton Park on 2 May, with 5,000 people who had been tested enjoying the first legal rave in the UK since the pandemic began.

Benn said the results of the tests five days after the event are "looking really positive".

"It would be remarkably similar. The event in Liverpool was extraordinarily similar. It felt like you were in 2019 pre-Covid, it felt normal. Of course there was additional hand sanitiser etc. but in the knowledge that everybody had been tested, everybody was super comfortable," he said.

"It felt incredibly safe, incredibly normal. You were able to chat to people, you were able to hug them. It proved that there was this phenomenal appetite for people to enjoy live music again."

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Minister for Culture Catherine Martin revealed on Monday that she has already met with the organisers of the Sefton Park event.

Martin said that Ireland will pilot large-scale sporting events and concerts in the coming months and last week met with the organisers in preparation for the possible gigs.

While the rollout of the test events was initially planned for July at the earliest, Martin said she would now be "more ambitious than that" and hopes to see concerts make a return as early as June.

Speaking to reporters while welcoming the reopening of Ireland’s National Cultural Institutions on Monday, she said: "I think July latest, but I would be more ambitious than that and I would like to see some live music events, test events, take place in June.

"I met Festival Republic last week, they ran the Sefton Park rave in Liverpool."

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Martin added that the events will initially begin as outdoor events before the implementation of indoor concerts can make a return.

She said that Festival Republic has submitted a proposal and she is now consulting with the government and health officials about the possibility of the event pilots.