Ministers have announced that fully vaccinated travellers from the US and the EU will be exempt from quarantining when travelling to England, providing hope for gigs and festivals with international acts booked this summer or fans hoping to travel from overseas to English events.
Bosses from the UK’s live music scene have been calling on the government to allow for “cultural quarantine” passes, so that international bands and artists can perform at gigs and festivals this summer without the need to self-isolate for COVID-19 upon arrival – just as they had made possible for athletes and sports stars.
Now, the government in England is reportedly set to bring about a policy change that will apply from 4am on Monday 2 August 2021, as The Independent reports. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will be allowed to decide their own rules.
LIVE, the music industry body who represent 3,150 businesses, over 4,000 high profile artists and 2,000 backstage workers, welcomed the news.
“We are extremely pleased to see that Government has taken the decision to allow people into the UK without the need to quarantine, if they have been fully vaccinated in Europe or the USA,” said LIVE CEO. Greg Parmley
He continued: “This will allow international artists to perform at our world-leading festivals and venues over the coming months and will provide a vital boost to our iconic live music industry as we come out of lockdown.”
The Labour party, however, have criticised the plans as “reckless” and potentially allowing for the spread of new variants to tear through the country.
This comes as today saw Queens Of The Stone Age replaced by Biffy Clyro at Reading & Leeds Festival 2021 “due to restrictions and logistics”, while a number of other high profile international acts are still set to play.
Paul Reed, Chief Executive of the Association Of Independent Festivals, previously told NME about the need quarantine exemptions for international artists coming into the country.
“A lot of UK festivals have reverted to domestic line-ups, but I have multiple festival members where 30 to 40 per cent of their festival line-up is coming in from outside the UK – many of them headliners from the US and other parts of Europe,” he said. “At the moment, the expectation is for around 15 to 20 members of their touring party to quarantine for 10 days before the show. That’s just not viable.
“The music industry finds it very hard to understand why there’s an exemption in place for sporting events and not us. The cultural exemption was previously in place and it worked very well. It was considered to be fast, efficient and free.”
More details of the new policy are expected to be revealed soon.