The co-founder of Manchester’s Parklife Festival has said he is extremely confident that the event will be able to take place without any socially distancing regulations later this year.
The festival is yet to unveil its line-up for 2021, but is currently scheduled to take place at Manchester’s Heaton Park from September 11-12 after being pushed back from its original date in June.
Speaking to NME, Parklife co-founder Sacha Lord said the ongoing success of the UK’s vaccination programme has given him hope that the event will take place later this year.
“The vaccination roll-out has been incredible and hats off to all our scientists and NHS volunteers,” he said.
“For once, we can say that we have got something that’s world-beating. It’s phenomenal and we’ve got leading scientists saying they’re confident that everyone will have had their second vaccine by July.”
Parklife 2021, a new date to dance.
11th & 12th September 2021. https://t.co/SFyDoElIW3 pic.twitter.com/iW9OsFMLsq
— Parklife 2021 🚀 (@Parklifefest) December 7, 2020
Lord also told NME that full-capacity would be key to the event’s success – days before the government unveiled plans to scrap all social distancing measures by the end of June.
“We pushed back Parklife to September and we’re confident it will go ahead. We’ve got New Order on the night before and we’re gearing up for success with an 80,000 capacity,” he said.
“We’re not considering operating with social distancing – I personally don’t like these socially distanced events. I think to go to a proper gig or a proper rave you need to be shoulder-to-shoulder in a hot sweaty environment. You cannot create that atmosphere at a socially distanced event.
“There are people talking still about trialling events at 25 per cent capacity, and I’m sorry, but that doesn’t work for me and it doesn’t work for many in the industry. The profit margins are so tight, especially on bigger events and you need to operate at 100 per cent.”
The positive update on Parklife comes as Reading & Leeds Festival confirmed earlier today (February 24) that it will take place over the August bank holiday – featuring headline performances from the likes of Liam Gallagher, Stormzy and Post Malone.
At present, the government aims “to remove all legal limits on social contact” by June 21 as part of the roadmap out of lockdown. Before that, outdoor hospitality, such as pubs and outdoor dining, could reopen on April 12, with indoor hospitality following on May 17.
The latter date is also the first point where live events could return – however, limited capacities and social distancing may still be required. After June 21, all other restrictions should be removed – however, the roadmap is contingent on vaccinations going to plan, COVID-19 variants not causing new problems and the infection rate lowering.