In Pictures: U.K. Holds First Music Festival Since Start Of Pandemic
Thousands of metal fans gathered in England’s rural Donington Park this weekend for the Download Festival, the United Kingdom’s first large-scale music festival since Covid-19 turned singing, dancing and moshing into risky activities — and British officials are using the revelry as a real-life test case for whether large events can safely return after more than a year.
Download Festival welcomed 10,000 people to Donington Park on Friday for three consecutive days of camping and music, a step down from the 80,000 fans who have attended in previous years.
Concert-goers aren’t expected to socially distance or wear masks, and organizers say mosh pits are allowed, but all attendees were required to test negative for Covid-19 before checking in, and public health researchers are hoping to conduct another round of tests after fans head home next week.
Government officials say the festival is part of a string ofpilot events meant to test the spread of Covid-19 during mass gatherings.
More than 60% of British residents are at least partially vaccinated against the coronavirus, making it one of the most heavily vaccinated places on Earth.
Concerts and live events are also gradually returning on the other side of the Atlantic. Chicago will host the massive Lollapalooza festival next month, and the Foo Fighters are slated to headline Madison Square Garden’s first concert in more than a year on Sunday, welcoming thousands of fully vaccinated fans to the iconic New York venue. Plus, the Strokes performed for supporters of New York City mayoral candidate Maya Wiley last week, an event the Wiley campaign billed as the city’s first full-capacity indoor concert since the start of the pandemic.