Festival Republic managing director Melvin Benn tells MPs “you can’t have festivals with social distancing”

Festival Republic managing director Melvin Benn told MPs “you can’t have festivals with social distancing” today.

Tuesday, 30th March 2021, 4:45 pm

Speaking to the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee today, Mr Benn said that he believed testing could be the solution.

“I felt that from day one, that the Government really were hoping that the vaccine would come through… and that would solve the problem,” he said.

Mr Benn is the managing director of Festival Republic, who are the UK promoter of festivals including Reading and Leeds, Download, Wireless and V.

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Festival Republic managing director Melvin Benn tells MPs “you can’t have festivals with social distancing” Pic: SWNS

Asked about music festivals and social distancing, he said: “The answer is no, you can’t have festivals with social distancing”.

Mr Benn said that he believed testing could be the solution.

He explained: “In June I published a report or a plan, the Full Capacity plan, which was based on testing people before they arrive at the festival, or before they arrive at the event.”

He said it was about creating a space where everybody attending had been tested and had “tested negative in order to get an entry, therefore are unable to transmit the virus to other people because everybody in the place is tested and clear. It gets rid of the need for social distancing”, he told the DCMS committee.

A DCMS spokeswoman said: “We are working flat out to support our world class performing arts sector through challenging times. Our unprecedented £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund builds on £200 million in emergency public funding to stabilise organisations, protect jobs and ensure work continues to flow to freelancers. This funding will support organisations of all sizes across the country, including theatres.

“Performances indoors and outdoors can now take place with a socially distanced audience and we are working at pace with the industry on innovative proposals for how full audiences might return safely as soon as possible. We also want the public to show their support by visiting theatres as they start to reopen.”