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FR announces biggest UK pilot show to date

Sefton Park Pilot, headlined by Blossoms, will study the transmission of Covid-19 in a non-socially distanced outdoor festival setting

By IQ on 19 Apr 2021

The festival will be held in Liverpool’s Sefton Park

The festival will be held in Liverpool’s Sefton Park


image © David Dixon (cc-by-sa/2.0)

Sefton Park in Liverpool will host a new music festival, simply called the Sefton Park Pilot, as part of the British government-backed Events Research Programme (ERP).

The ERP, details of which were announced earlier this month, will also include several sporting fixtures, a business conference and a club night, also in Liverpool, among other events. IQ reported at the time that a live music pilot event was still to be announced.

Sefton Park Pilot will take over a small area of the 235-acre park on Sunday 2 May, with performers including Blossoms and the Lathums, as well as Liverpool singer-songwriter Zuzu. After doors open at 4.30pm, concertgoers will not have to socially distance or wear face coverings, given the show’s status as a research study on the transmission of Covid-19 in an outdoor festival setting.

Scientists monitoring the festival, which is being produced by Festival Republic (Reading and Leeds Festivals, Download, Wireless), will observe how crowds mixing outdoors increases the risk of transmission of the coronavirus.

Ticketholders will take a lateral-flow test at a community testing site 24 hours before the event, and will have to produce a negative test result to gain entry. Those attending will also be urged to take an at-home PCR test on the day of the event, as well as five days afterwards, to ensure any transmission of the virus is properly monitored.

“This event is not about pushing vaccines or passports – we do not want to limit attendance in any way”

So-called vaccine or health ‘passports’, of the kind being used in Israel, New York and elsewhere, and considered by the EU, are not part of the ERP in Liverpool, though they are being trialled at other ERP events.

“Festival Republic is delighted to be able to support the Government’s efforts to get the live music industry back up and running. The Sefton Park Pilot is a vital, science-led event which will help open up the live music industry in a safe and secure way,” says FR managing director Melvin Benn.

“This event is not about pushing vaccines or passports – we do not want to limit attendance to our events in any way. Working with the government we want to create a universal blueprint for reopening and demonstrate we can do it safely.

“Secretary of state Oliver Dowden and his team at DCMS are showing real commitment to making this a reality by launching the Event Research Programme and the Sefton Park pilot.”

Dowden, who leads the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), says: “We’re one step closer to a summer of live events now our science-led programme is underway. Testing different settings and looking at different mitigations is key to getting crowds back safely and the Sefton Park Pilot is an important addition to the programme.

“After many months without live audiences, Festival Republic are bringing live music back to fans with this very special event and I hope it won’t be too much longer until gigs are back for good.”

“I hope it won’t be too much longer until gigs are back for good”

Under the current ‘roadmap’ out of lockdown, the British government hopes to lift all restrictions on gatherings and events after 21 June.

“It is good to see Liverpool bringing a live, outdoor music festival to the Events Research Programme. The festival in Sefton Park will make the most of an iconic, accessible fresh-air venue,” comments Prof. Iain Buchan, dean of the Institute of Population Health at the University of Liverpool. “Restarting this part of community life is important to society’s wellbeing and therefore is of public health importance, as well as minimising Covid-19 risks.”

“Live music is a vital part of so many people’s lives,” Benn continues. “This event is the first step in getting festivals back on track this year. It’s about demonstrating our absolute commitment that we can and will open on 21 June.

“We want to get festival fans back at events safely this year. We all need a summer of live music.”

Tickets for Sefton Park Pilot, which may only be purchased by residents of Liverpool, are on sale now, priced at £29.50.

The poster for the event, which shows the festival-style ‘big top’ venue in which the concerts will be held, is pictured below:

Sefton Park Pilot poster


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