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Ireland’s Electric Picnic presses gov for reopening plan

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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Woodstock organisers blame permit rejection on “politics”

The organisers of the beleaguered Woodstock anniversary festival have blamed “certain political forces”, following the denial of a temporary event permit from the town of Vernon in New York State.

The small town rejected the festival’s request for a permit yesterday (10 July), on the basis that its application was late and incomplete.

In a statement released today, Woodstock organisers stated that “certain political forces may be working against the resurrection of the festival.”

The Woodstock 50 team also denied that they had submitted incomplete filing for the permit.

“Woodstock 50 officials were informed by the town of Vernon that most questions had been answered and asked only that Woodstock submit medical, safety/security and traffic plans by this past Sunday, which it did,” reads the statement.

“Certain political forces may be working against the resurrection of the festival”

Organisers indicated that they plan to file an appeal of the decision, saying they were “hopeful” that such a reapplication would “prevail without further political interference”.

The permit rejection followed a meeting in which officials raised concerns over the ability to ensure safety at the event, given the short timeframe available.

Woodstock 50 is scheduled to take place from August 16 to 18. Tickets are yet to go onsale.

The future of the 50th-anniversary celebration of Woodstock has been in doubt ever since its financial partner, Dentsu Aegis’ investment arm Amplifi Live, pulled its support in April.

The event has since lost two production partners – Superfly and CID Entertainment – and its original venue, Watkins Glen International.


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