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BST cancels, Glastonbury announces livestream, and Reading & Leeds hint at vaccine passports

By | Published on Wednesday 31 March 2021

Pearl Jam

The 2021 festival season remains unpredictable, so here’s today’s news: London’s BST Hyde Park is off, Glastonbury has announced its livestream replacement, and Reading & Leeds are expected to go ahead but will “almost certainly” need some sort of vaccine passport.

Announcing that it would not now go ahead in July, as had been originally planned, AEG’s British Summer Time festival said in a statement: “Following our review of the most recent government advice, the latest timeline means that we are unable to deliver with certainty the quality BST Hyde Park is known for in the time available. By making this decision at this stage we allow artists, crew, fans and everyone that comes together to help create these shows to plan accordingly”.

Under the UK government’s current roadmap, COVID-19 restrictions in England are set to be lifted on 21 Jun, but everything is still subject to last minute changes. The 2021 edition of the BST event was set to begin on 9 Jul with the first of two shows to be headlined by Pearl Jam. Duran Duran were set to headline a third day on 11 Jul. All three shows have now been postponed to 2022.

Meanwhile, Glastonbury – one of the first COVID casualties of the 2021 festival season – will be replaced by a livestreamed concert, under the name Live At Worthy Farm, on 22 May. The five hour show will feature performances by Coldplay, Damon Albarn, Haim, Idles, Jorja Smith, Kano, Michael Kiwanuka and Wolf Alice. There is also the promise of “a number of unannounced surprise performances”.

“After two Glastonbury cancellations, it brings us great pleasure to announce our first online livestream, which will present live music performances filmed across Worthy Farm at landmarks including the Pyramid and, for the first time ever, the Stone Circle”, says Emily Eavis.

“It will feature a rolling cast of artists and performers who have all given us enormous support by agreeing to take part in this event, showing the farm as you have never seen it. There will also be some very special guest appearances and collaborations. We are hoping this will bring a bit of Glastonbury to your homes and that for one night only people all over the world will be able to join us on this journey through the farm together!”

The livestream will begin at four different times in order to be accessible in as many places as possible around the world. Tickets are on sale now for £20 here.

Still planning to go ahead with a full capacity festival with people in a field and everything are the Reading and Leeds festivals at the end of August. However, while organiser Melvin Benn says that he’s “anticipating it going ahead”, he has now said that he expects that ticketholders will likely have to prove that they are either vaccinated or COVID-free before gaining entry.

Speaking to the BBC, Benn said that – while in “an ideal world” everyone would be able to carry on as they did pre-pandemic – it will “almost certainly” be necessary for some sort of safety measures to be in place. That could mean that anyone who cannot provide proof of their COVID vaccination or a negative COVID test will not be able to gain entry to either festival.

Benn added that the events will have a dedicated COVID medical director and on site teams, and will have to operate under the same safety protocols as bars and restaurants.

“I’m taking the Prime Minister at his word that from June the legal restrictions will be off and as he and the culture secretary said: ‘We are looking forward to a summer of fun'”, said Benn. “If it is cancelled everyone gets a refund – that’s pretty normal – but I’m certainly anticipating it going ahead”.

Reading and Leeds are set to take place from 27-29 Aug, with headliners Stormzy, Liam Gallagher and Queens Of The Stone Age.

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