- Title: Normality returns for music fans at Reading festival
- Date: 27th August 2021
- Summary: (SOUNDBITE) (English) FESTIVAL ATTENDEE, LAUREN, SAYING: "When you do something like this, it feels completely normal because it's just like it's all over and it's I think it's, you get a bit emotional because you can't you can visualise that ever happening about six months ago." (SOUNDBITE) (English) MEMBER OF THE BAND FOR BRITISH MUSICIAN SAM FENDER, DEAN THOMPSON, SAYING: "I feel like everybody's a bit more amped up because it's been so long since we've had, like live music and live events and things, so it feels a bit more exciting this time around I think." (SOUNDBITE) (English) MEMBER OF THE BAND FOR BRITISH MUSICIAN SAM FENDER, JOHNNY "BLUEHAT" DAVIS, SAYING: "Like, It's good for everyone just to feel alive again because we've literally felt dead for the past year. It's just like it's amazing." (SOUNDBITE) (English) FESTIVAL ATTENDEE FROM DEVON, 29-YEAR-OLD ANDREW GOFF, SAYING: "Everyone literally needs it. We have to get on with our lives and after the last year and a half. I think everyone deserves to have a festival and music and just a bit of normality, more than anything."
- Embargoed: 10th September 2021 18:53
- Keywords: Britain Reading and Leeds Festival coronavirus health music vaccine
- Location: READING, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM
- City: READING, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM
- Country: UK
- Topics: Arts/Culture/Entertainment,Europe,Music
- Reuters ID: LVA003ES22CZX
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Nearly 105 thousand people descended on Reading music festival on Friday (August 27), armed with a negative coronavirus test, to enjoy live music once again.
Reading and Leeds, twin events that are a rite of passage for post-exam teenagers, will be two of the biggest since the government removed restrictions in July following a rapid vaccine rollout.
British infections have started to rise again, with about 34,000 cases and around 100 deaths being reported per day in the last week. But admissions to hospital remain well below previous peaks of the pandemic. Recent music festivals in the UK, including Boardmasters in Cornwall, have led to significant outbreaks but Melvin Benn, managing director of Reading organisers Festival Republic, said the reproduction rate of the virus is no higher than anywhere else.
"The virus will spread at the festival, but the really interesting thing is the virus will spread outside of the festival as well, in the pubs, in the parks in the, in the restaurants, in the playgrounds. The virus is spreading everywhere. It's not because of the festival will be singled out because we're one hundred and five thousand people here," he told Reuters.
Revellers at the festival, headlined on Friday by Stormzy, were elated to be watching and listening to live music.
"Everyone literally needs it. We have to get on with our lives and after the last year and a half. I think everyone deserves to have a festival and music and just a bit of normality, more than anything," said Andrew Goff from Devon.
"When you do something like this, it feels completely normal because it's just like it's all over and it's I think it's, you get a bit emotional because you can't you can visualise that ever happening about six months ago," one festivalgoer, Lauren, said.
Every attendee must show proof of a negative coronavirus test before entering the festival and they have to retest every 72 hours. Once inside they do not have to follow protocols such as mask wearing or social distancing.
"If you're a festivalgoer, you would barely notice the difference because the, the mitigation is in the testing before you come to the festival... The mitigation isn't about not getting close to people or not jumping up and down and dancing or singing with people," said Benn.
(Production: Ben Makori, Mindy Burrows)
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