Covid jabs or negative tests required for entry to Brighton music festival

Music fans will have to provide a negative covid-19 test or proof of vaccination to be allowed into a festival in Brighton over three weekends this summer.

Brighton Rugby Club plans to host the Life festival at Waterhall over three successive weekends starting on Friday 31 July.

With the recent spike in coronavirus cases locally, the club was required to draw up a covid safety plan, members of Brighton and Hove City Council were told yesterday (Thursday 22 July).

And the organisers required permission from the council as landowner, councillors were told at a meeting at Hove Town Hall.

Permission was granted by the council’s Policy and Resources (Recovery) Sub-Committee after it heard about some of the precautions being taken by the organisers.

A thousand covid test kits have been obtained already – and those attending the house music festival will be encouraged to wear a face mask, with free masks to be made available.

Labour councillor John Allcock was concerned about potential disruption if people arrived without tickets.

He said: “If it becomes an uber-popular event, this could prompt a large number of people to turn up who may be disappointed if no tickets are available or it’s sold out.

“This makes us consider how the festival can be contained within its perimeter – it’s in fields – how to ensure extra people do not just walk in.”

The council’s assistant director for culture, tourism and sport, Donna Chisholm, said that security planning for the events and the location – on the edge of Brighton rather than in the centre – made it less likely that people would “drift in”.

The Green leader of the council Phélim Mac Cafferty said that the council’s events team had worked with the organisers to ensure all “angles of travel” were covered and that the emergency services had been alerted to a large-scale event.

Councillor Mac Cafferty said that the festival would give an insight into how night clubs could deal with new measures coming into force from September.

He said that he had spoken with council officials about the reopening of the night-time economy, adding: “The best conversation we can have starts happening now, to get them used to the new regulatory regime that’s going to be around to protect people visiting clubs.”

Conservative councillor Alistair McNair said that it was good opportunity for young people to enjoy themselves after a “tough time” for all.

He said: “It’ll be really good to see this type of event happen again.”

If it could be done safely, next year more events like it would be able to take place, he said, adding: “It would be good to see this as a test event. I hope it is successful.”

Headline acts over the three weekends include Sash and Digweed, Nightmares on Wax, Norman Jay and a DJ set from Orbital.

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