Reading and Leeds festivals will go ahead in August, organisers confirm

The Reading and Leeds music festivals will go ahead in late August, organisers have confirmed.

Stormzy, Post Malone and Liam Gallagher are confirmed acts to headline the twin events, which will run on the August Bank Holiday weekend from 27-29 August.

It follows the publication of England’s roadmap out of lockdown, which says the government plans to remove all legal limits on social contact by 21 June.

In a post on Reading and Leeds festivals’ official Twitter page, organisers said: “Following the government’s recent announcement, we can’t wait to get back to the fields this summer. LET’S GO.”

They also shared a short video showing festival-goers in previous years, enjoying fairground rides and gathered in large crowds dancing to the music.

Bosses have yet to confirm detailed plans for the events, or to what extent social distancing measures will figure in the organisation of performances.

The crowd for Kylie Minogue at Glastonbury 2019
Festivals were wiped out in 2020 – and many are holding back on confirming this year’s plans

The last time the festivals took place was in 2019 – with a capacity of over 100,000 people per day at the Reading site and tickets selling out a month before the event.

The festivals had an enforced fallow year in 2020, due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Although confirmation of the 2021 event has only just come, tickets have been on sale since last summer.

Other big acts at the three-day event include Catfish and the Bottlemen, Disclosure and Queens of the Stone Age.

In January, Europe’s largest live music event – Glastonbury – was cancelled for the second year running.

The Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury Festival. Pic: AP
Glastonbury has already announced it will not go ahead this year. Pic: AP

Organisers Michael and Emily Eavis said despite “efforts to move Heaven & Earth”, the 2021 festival at Worthy Farm would not go ahead, and tickets would again roll over to the following year.

Outdoor large performances with a maximum of 4,000 people will be allowed from 17 May as part of Step Three of the roadmap.

And while the government plans to lift social distancing measures by 21 June, many festivals have said they need assurance much sooner.

The route out of lockdown will be dependent on coronavirus cases, deaths and hospital admissions continuing to fall, and a week’s notice will be given before full confirmation of each step.

Festivals which take place ahead of 21 June including Isle of Wight and Download are yet to confirm whether they will be going ahead.

Speaking ahead of the Reading and Leeds announcement, Chief executive of the Association of Independent Festivals Paul Reed told Sky News: “We need urgent intervention on insurance. We’re very appreciative to have a ‘no earlier than date’. But if festivals are to go ahead, we need that intervention before the end of March.

“If that doesn’t happen, unfortunately, you’re not going to see much of the festival sector this year and [it] will therefore need support until when we’re able to return beyond this.”

It’s been a catastrophic last year for the arts and entertainment industry due to coronavirus, with many live venues forced to close their doors to the public for the best part of 2020.

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