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Electric Picnic promoters urge Government to allow for full-capacity September festival

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Electric Picnic organisers have written to the Taoiseach, Tánaiste and several Government Ministers setting out safety plans around this year’s planned three-day festival despite opposition by Laois County Council.

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Promoters Festival Republic and MCD want to run the festival at full capacity in late September, with plans for 70,000 revellers, after last year’s event was cancelled due to the pandemic.

The promoters want the festival in Stradbally, Co Laois to be held at a later date than usual, from September 24th-26th, with enhanced Covid-19 safety measures.

The measures would allow people who have been fully vaccinated at least 14 days before the festival date entry. Those with one vaccine dose can attend, but they must undergo a PCR test with a negative result before being allowed entry. Festival entry will not be permitted for anyone who is not vaccinated.

Registration for contact tracing, and an event management plan with extensive health and safety requirements is also proposed by organisers.

First-hand knowledge

The promoters have pointed out that they have staged live events worldwide including Lollapalooza in the US and Latitude in the UK, and have gained first-hand knowledge and experience in safely running large scale Covid-19 pilot events and festivals.

According to Hot Press, the letter is signed by Justin Green of Wide Awake Communications and says that the proposed measures “would resemble the regulations applicable to indoor hospitality, the rules governing international travel and the protocols implemented at live events currently underway throughout Europe, within the UK and the USA.”

The letter ends with a request that the proposal be taken to the next Cabinet meeting for urgent consideration.

The development comes just days after Laois councillors made their opposition to the festival known at a meeting of the County Council.

Councillors want the National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet) to provide an urgent recommendation to the Council on whether Electric Picnic should be given a licence to proceed at the end of September.

Stradbally-based Fianna Fáil councillor Paschal McEvoy called on Nphet to provide an urgent recommendation to the Council, with Council chief executive John Mulholland agreeing with the fears expressed by the councillor despite not normally commenting on a live licence application.

Unanimous view

There was a unanimous view expressed that the Electric Picnic should not be allowed to proceed this year – though the Council will only be in a position to rule on it once due process has been followed in accordance with the law.

A decision has to be made no less than four weeks before the event, which will be the last week in August.

Cllr McEvoy said: “The idea of 70,000 people coming into Stradbally over four days is absolutely crazy. I’m getting calls on a daily basis. People are terrified it’s going to happen- these are real people with real concerns. There were 20 deaths in our nursing home earlier this year and that is still very raw.”

“I accept there are as many young people who want this but older people don’t want it – but there are many younger people who aren’t comfortable with it either. The timing of this is really wrong,” he added.

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