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FR boss unveils plan to restart industry at full capacity

The Full Capacity Plan, the brainchild of Festival Republic MD Melvin Benn, aims to avoid the “financial disaster” of events reopening with limited capacities

By IQ on 03 Jun 2020

FR boss unveils plan to restart industry at full capacity

Melvin Benn onsite at Festival Republic's Latitude festival last year


image © Marc Sethi/Latitude Festival

Melvin Benn, managing director of Festival Republic, has designed an incentive-based plan to allow the restarting of live shows at full capacity, through an increase of testing and contract tracing.

Social distancing has proved a controversial topic within the live industry, with many sharing doubts as to the viability of putting on reduced-capacity shows.

The Full Capacity Plan aims to facilitate the reopening of the leisure sector without capacity limitations, by increasing public use of the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) Trace App and upping participation in testing through an incentive-based scheme.



The plan would see those who have bought tickets to shows or booked a table at a restaurant invited to attend a high-street shop to collect a home-testing kit and download the NH tracing app.

Those who test negative and agree to use the tracing app would be allowed to return to concerts, pubs, theatres and sporting events.

Although the UK government currently has the capacity to test 1.4 million people a week, fewer than 700,000 weekly tests are taking place, “because there is no incentive”, says Benn, who oversees events including Wireless, Download, Latitude and Reading and Leeds festivals.

“I am proposing the Full Capacity Plan to stimulate the debate about getting back to normal opening rather than partial opening”

“My plan is to create incentive, to test at least double the current capacity and be aiming for 12 to 15m people a month being tested minimum,” explains Benn.

“I am proposing the Full Capacity Plan to stimulate the debate about getting back to normal opening rather than partial opening because partial opening is financial disaster opening.

“[The plan] is simple and easy, inexpensive in comparison to the subsidies that the government is currently paying and very achievable with good organisation.”

A provisional timeline foresees a pilot scheme beginning later this month, in partnership with the British government, with the first events going ahead in accordance with the plan in August.

If all goes well, the industry may be able to restart at full capacity by November.

The virtual edition of Download Festival, Download TV, is taking place from 12 to 14 June, with exclusive footage from headliners Kiss, Iron Maiden and System of a Down, whereas the virtual-reality Wireless Connect will air from 3 to 5 July.

 


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