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Ireland’s Electric Picnic presses gov for reopening plan

The call to arms comes after the festival was denied a licence by the council on the grounds of the current restrictions

By IQ on 06 Aug 2021

Electric Picnic

Electric Picnic


image © Electric Picnic

Electric Picnic is calling on the Irish government to interrupt its summer recess and “immediately issue reopening guidelines,” after the festival was refused a licence for this year’s event.

The event, which would usually take place with 70,000 attendees per day, was scheduled to go ahead from 24–26 September at Stradbally Hall Estate, County Laois.

However, despite the organisers’ proposal to ensure that everyone attending the event would be fully vaccinated and registered in advance for contact tracing, the local council has declined to issue a permit based on “the most up-to-date public health advice”.

The council cited current government guidance in relation to “events of this nature being restricted to an attendance of 500 people only”.

“This was a very difficult decision for the council to make and I’m sure it will be disappointing to thousands of music fans and the live music industry,” says Laois County Council’s chairman, councillor Conor Bergin. “However, in the current climate, it’s the lack of certainty over Covid. We’d all love to see it go ahead but with no certainty, it’s very hard.”

The promoters, Festival Republic and MCD, described the news as a “huge blow and set back to our entire sector, which was mandated to close on the 12th March 2020 (over 500 days ago).”

The statement said that the decision means “the further loss of employment for over 3,000 people, who had clung to the hope that Electric Picnic would bring an end to their period of hardship”.

“This is a huge blow and set back to our entire sector”

“To see Scotland, a country with a similar population and virtually identical vaccine rollout and uptake as our own, only announce yesterday that they were easing restrictions and allowing events such as Trnsmt in Glasgow go ahead in September makes this decision even more difficult to accept,” it said.

It was announced yesterday that Trnsmt was granted ‘gateway event’ status by the government, exempting it from the capacity limit for outdoor events.

The three-day event will take place this September with up to 50,000 non-socially distanced fans per day.

Electric Picnic is now calling on the Irish government to reopen the live music sector “on a phased basis” from 14 August, building to the lifting of restrictions from 1 September onwards.

The organisers say they’re now “reviewing their options” and will be in contact with ticket holders over the next week.

Should Electric Picnic 2021 be cancelled, it will mark two years in a row without the festival. The festival has been staged annually since 2004.

 


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