After a year of no festivals, party goers are keener than ever to dance in a field again. Everyone attending an event in 2021 needs to play a part in keeping each other safe and minimising the risks from COVID-19.
You should feel confident that it is now considered safe for festivals to go ahead, but we all have our part to play. The information on this page reflects the current UK Government guidelines and advice from Public Health England on COVID-19 safety at events. This guidance may change, so bookmark this page and check back in the days before your event for any updates.
Event organisers are working hard to ensure festivals comply with the most up to date guidance on COVID-19 safety. This includes protocols for their staff and enhanced hygiene.
Individual festivals may have their own policies on some things, so check the website of the event you are attending and read any emails from them carefully.
All In This Together
It’s been a strange and at times challenging year for most people. A festival is a community and now more than ever we must look after ourselves and each other.
- If this year will be your first time at a festival, make sure you read about what to expect here.
- Maybe you've been to events before the pandemic, but are feeling nervous about being back in big crowds and in the festival environment. Read more about looking after your mental health and wellbeing here.
- Whether you're a first timer or a hardened festival veteran, read about what to bring and how to prepare here.
- If you are planning on taking alcohol and other drugs, remember that your tolerance levels may have greatly reduced so go slow and stay low. Read more about how to reduce harm with alcohol and other drugs here.
- Over the past year there has been a rising movement globally to support positive change and acknowledge the experiences of those who are more at risk from incidents of sexual assault and harassment. Read more about safer spaces at festivals here.
- If you are working at a festival for the first time, read about what to expect here.
The experiences of the last year have been unprecedented for all of us. Look after your friends and be a friendly face in the crowd. Let's make sure this summer is one to remember for all the right reasons.
You will not need to be vaccinated against COVID-19 to attend festivals.
That said, one of the best ways to protect yourself and others from COVID-19 is to have two doses of the vaccination if you are willing and able.
All adults in the UK should be offered their first dose of the vaccine by 31 July 2021. You can check if you are eligible yet and book your vaccination here.
Self-Isolating & Quarantine
If you are self-isolating or quarantining during the period when your festival takes place, it may be disappointing, but you should not attend the event and continue to isolate in line with UK Government guidelines.
Some events may offer TicketPlan Insurance that will ensure you get a refund if you cannot attend due to self-isolating. Check your festival website for more details.
Regular COVID-19 Testing
In order to help stop the spread of COVID-19, it is sensible for everyone to be regularly testing themselves using the free lateral flow tests provided by the NHS, especially if you are attending a festival and when you return home. You can order tests here.
Whenever you do a test, you should record the result on the GOV.UK website here.
It is a good idea to stock up on tests well in advance of festival season - don't leave it til the last minute when there may be lots of people ordering them!
Most events will have some kind of COVID-19 certification process as a condition of entry. This means they will ask you to prove your COVID-19 status with one of the following:
- proof of full COVID-19 vaccination both doses received at least 14 days before your arrival;
- proof of a negative NHS COVID-19 Lateral Flow Test taken within 48 hours of your arrival;
- proof of natural immunity based upon a positive PCR test taken within 180 days of the event (including 10 days self-isolation following the result).
Many events will be using the NHS COVID Pass for certification, but some events may use alternative methods. You should check on your event website to see what they will require well in advance of the event.
NHS COVID Pass
Most events will be using the NHS COVID Pass as their certification process.
There are two types of NHS Covid Pass, the 'travel abroad' pass and the 'domestic events' pass. The 'domestic events' pass is the one that may be used by festivals as a condition of entry,
What is an NHS COVID Pass?
An NHS COVID Pass shows your coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination details or test results. This is your COVID-19 status.
Who can get an NHS COVID Pass for domestic events in England?
If you're aged 18 or over, you can get an NHS COVID Pass for travel abroad and domestic events depending on your vaccination status or COVID-19 test results.
What do I need to get an NHS COVID Pass for domestic events?
You need to have one of the following to get a NHS Covid Pass for domestic events:
- 2 doses of the Moderna, AstraZeneca or Pfizer vaccine, or 1 dose of the Janssen vaccine. You are eligible 2 weeks after your 2nd dose (Moderna, AstraZeneca and Pfizer), or 2 weeks after a single-dose vaccine (Janssen).
- A negative PCR test or lateral flow test within the past 48 hours. If you did a lateral flow test at home, you must report your test result on GOV.UK (see below for a step by step guide on this option).
- A positive PCR test within the past 6 months. This will mean you have natural immunity. You are eligible after you've finished self-isolating and up to 180 days after taking the test.
How do I get an NHS COVID Pass for domestic events ?
You need to be registered with a GP in England to use the NHS App. If you're not registered with a GP, you can still access the NHS Covid Pass via the NHS website or by calling 119 (select NHS COVID Pass service) to request a letter.
It is recommended you register and use the NHS App at least two weeks before your event.
How do I get the NHS App?
To access the service, you’ll need to register for an NHS login. To register for an NHS login you will need to upload a photo of your ID.
I can't download the NHS App, can I access my NHS Covid Pass another way?
You can view your COVID-19 status online and download or print it as a PDF document. To access the service, you’ll need to register for an NHS login if you do not have one already. NHS login registrations may take longer than usual when there are high numbers of requests. Access the NHS COVID Pass via the NHS website
If I want to get my NHS COVID Pass using a negative COVID-19 test result, when do I need to take the lateral flow test?
You should order a stock of free NHS lateral flow tests well in advance of your event. It is expected that there will be a high demand for these in the coming weeks so do not leave it until the last minute. You can also pick these up from some local chemists.
Once your NHS App is set up, within 48 hours before arrival at your event you should take a test. You must register the result on the GOV.UK website. This will automatically link to your NHS App.
Once you have registered your test result, it may take up to two hours to appear in the app so consider doing this the night before you leave for the event.
How do I generate my NHS COVID Pass for domestic events?
Once your negative test result is showing on your App you should do the following:
1. Open the NHS App and log in or log in via the NHS Website.
2. Click ‘Get your NHS COVID Pass’. Click 'domestic'.
3. Your name and QR Code will be displayed. **This is your NHS COVID Pass.**
4. If you’re using your phone, select “Receive an offline copy by email” this will send an email to your chosen address so you can print on your computer. If you are using your computer select “Download PDF copy” and print.
What do I do with my NHS Covid Pass for domestic events?
On arrival at the event you will be asked to present your NHS Covid Pass to prove you have had a negative test.
How long does my NHS Covid Pass for domestic events last for?
A pass generated from a negative lateral flow test expires after 48 hours.
A pass generated from a positive PCR test in the past six months expires 180 days after taking the test.
My festival is four days long, will I need to test more than once?
Some events may require you to test more than once - you should check your festival website for details of how often. This means you will need to order and bring enough lateral flow tests with you to the event. You will also need to remember to keep your phone charged in order to upload your results and generate a new NHS Covid Pass for domestic events.
If you test positive for COVID-19 whilst at a festival you should put on a mask and make plans to leave the event and travel home as soon as you can. You should minimise contact with others as much as possible and inform anyone you are attending with of your positive result.
What about people under 18?
The NHS COVID Pass is not available fo people under the age of 18.
People under 18 should not need to show a COVID Pass to get into venues in England but some events may ask under 18s to confirm that they have had a negative lateral flow test before attending events by showing the text or email that you receive once you have registered a test result at GOV.UK.
Make sure you read the information on your festival's website carefully so that you understand what they will require for entry.
I recently tested positive for COVID-19, how will I provide proof of a negative test result?
If you tested positive for COVID-19 with a PCR test taken within 180 days of your festival (including 10 days self-isolation following the result) you are eligible for an NHS Covid Pass as you have natural immunity.
You should register for the NHS App (as explained above) and click on 'Get your NHS Covid pass'. This should automatically display your name and QR Code. If this does not show phone 119.
Remember this will only work if you took a PCR test at the time you had COVID-19, NOT a Lateral Flow Test.
I'm having problems with the NHS App, should I contact my festival?
If you are having issues with your NHS App or getting your NHS Covid Pass you should contact the NHS App support team NOT your event organisers.
The NHS COVID Pass is one of the many ways that event organisers are working hard to keep party goers safe. If you do not want to use this, then you will not be able to gain entry to the festival and may not be given a refund.
Developing Symptoms at an Event
The main symptoms of COVID-19 are:
- a high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature);
- a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual);
- a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – this means you've noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal.
If you develop any of the three key COVID-19 symptoms while at a festival, you should put on a face mask, notify people you are attending with and make arrangements to travel home as soon as possible. You should avoid any unnecessary contact with other people. When you get home you should book a free PCR test and isolate until you receive a negative result.
If you feel too unwell to travel or need urgent medical attention, please speak to a steward or go to the nearest medical tent. Make sure you are wearing a mask.
Sometimes people with COVID-19 do not have the three main symptoms listed above. Instead they have any of the following symptoms:
- sore throat
- muscle or full body aches
- tired and unwell
- headache that lasts a long time
- blocked or runny nose
- sickness or vomiting
If you don’t have the three main symptoms, but you do feel ill with other symptoms on the list, you don't need to leave the festival early but, to be on the safe side, should book a free PCR test when you get home. You do not have to isolate while you wait for the results.
In line with current UK Government guidelines, it is not mandatory to wear a mask in most situations at festivals. There are some circumstances in which you would still be required to wear a mask, for example if you attend the medical tent. For this reason you should bring one along and keep it with you just in case.
Wearing a mask is one way that we can help stop the spread of COVID-19. If you feel comfortable it is a good idea to wear one in situations where you are in close proximity to other people, for example when standing in a large crowd or queueing for entry.
Many people will still feel more comfortable wearing masks and this should be welcomed and respected.
The current UK Government guidelines state that party goers do not need to maintain social distancing at events. However, one of the ways we can help stop the spread of COVID-19 is to try and stay socially distanced wherever possible.
Many people will still feel more comfortable choosing their own level of social-distancing and this should be respected.
Practicing good hygiene is a key way we can reduce the transmission of COVID-19.
Washing hands with soap and water is the best way to get rid of germs. Most festivals will have increased provision to allow for customers to wash their hands more often. You should:
- wet your hands;
- lather with soap/hand wash for 20 seconds;
- if possible dry your hands.
When soap and water are not readily available, you should regularly use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Ideally this should be one that contains at least 60% alcohol.
NHS Test and Trace
It is no longer mandatory for people attending venues or events to 'check in' using the NHS Covid-19 App (this is different to the NHS App mentioned above in the NHS COVID Pass section) or leave their details on a paper form.
That said, some events may still be using the NHS test and trace system so you should check on your event website whether you will need to check in or leave details in advance to support the test and trace system.
There are reasons related to COVID-19 why your plans to attend a festival may change. Whilst you might not be entitled to a refund, each festival will have their own policies on refunds or ticket transfers and you should visit your event website for more details.
Some events may offer Ticket Plan Insurance that will ensure you get a refund if you cannot attend due to self-isolating. Check your festival website for more details.
Test After Your Festival
When you come home from your festival, as a precaution, you should take a free lateral flow test. If you test positive you should book a free PCR test, isolate in line with UK Government guidelines and inform anyone you were attending with.