Electric Picnic organiser "actively" believes festival will go ahead in September 1 month ago

Electric Picnic organiser "actively" believes festival will go ahead in September

"I say that because I can't see any reason at this point in time why it wouldn't take place at the end of September."

The Managing Director of Festival Republic, which runs Electric Picnic, has said he "actively" believes the Laois festival will go ahead this September.

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As part of current Covid-19 restrictions, a limit of 500 people is in place for outdoor venues with a capacity greater than 5,000.

However, Minister for the Arts Catherine Martin has said she hopes the Government will be in a position to give a "clear signal" on a reopening plan for the live entertainment sector by the end of August.

Appearing on RTÉ's News at One, Festival Republic director Melvin Benn was asked about the status of Electric Picnic, which is currently scheduled to take place on 24-26 September.

He replied: "The status is fairly straightforward from my point of view which is that I am very actively undertaking the planning of the Electric Picnic because I very actively believe that the Electric Picnic will take place.

"I say that because I can't see any reason at this point in time why it wouldn't take place at the end of September."

On how the event would be run, Benn stated: "The intention would be that the full 70,000 people that the licence that is applied for would attend.

"I am in some ways bowing to the pressure that exists by declaring that only those people that are fully vaccinated or immune because they've had the virus in the last six months can attend, work or perform at the event."

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This is different from how Festival Republic has been running events in Britain, Benn explained.

"In the UK, I've been running pilot events and now very open events where we have effectively been lateral flow testing people for the virus prior to entry," he said.

"Lateral flow hasn't been widely accepted in Ireland, obviously."

On why Electric Picnic should take place, Benn highlighted Ireland overtaking the UK in regards to the percentage of its population being fully vaccinated.

"On that basis alone, it would seem rather strange that events couldn't happen and that the Electric Picnic couldn't happen," he noted.

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"But by adding in that everybody has to be fully vaccinated, even just to come and work there, I think offers incredible reassurance."

Benn also said Festival Republic has put its proposal to Government in a letter.

"We've had a response to say that towards the end of August that there would be a pathway that was set out towards reopening of events and the economy," he explained.

"Obviously from my point of view, I can't wait until the end of August for that pathway to be clear - that events can take place at the end of September.

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"Therefore, I am investing and all of the teams are investing in the effort to try and make sure that the Picnic can happen by presuming that we are going ahead."

In regards to the festival's line-up, he said Festival Republic is "really really excited" about it and that it would be announced towards the end of August.