UK Festivals Reading And Leeds Are Full Speed Ahead For August
Maybe this is a case of widespread wishful thinking on behalf of the music industry, but it seems like some outdoor music festivals might actually be happening this summer. The pandemic essentially wiped out the 2020 festival calendar, and several events slated for the first half of 2021 have already been called off — including the UK mega-fest Glastonbury, which organizers were hoping would return in June. Some of the American springtime staples have gone virtual (SXSW) or postponed indefinitely (Coachella). But given the pace of vaccination in the West, promoters seem to believe they’ll be able to throw large-scale outdoor events by August. Events like Outside Lands, Governors Ball, and Bonnaroo have not yet wavered on their scheduled dates around the start of the school year. There are signs that Pitchfork Music Festival is aiming for a September event. Montreal’s Osheaga is even supposed to launch on the last day of July. And now the UK sister festivals Reading and Leeds have confirmed their plans to return this August.
Reading and Leeds organizers announced today that, in light of the UK government’s plan to lift all social distancing restrictions by June 21, their parallel events are full speed ahead for the weekend of Aug. 27-29. “Following the government’s recent announcement, we can’t wait to get back to the fields this summer,” the announcement reads. “LET’S GO.” The two events, which showcase most of the same performers, are set to feature headliners Liam Gallagher, Post Malone, and Stormzy, plus Doja Cat, Queens Of The Stone Age, Two Door Cinema Club, Lewis Capaldi, Mabel, Charli XCX, Sigrid, beabadoobee, DaBaby, Disclosure, Sports Team, Jack Harlow, Ashnikko, Girl In Red, the Wombats, Bad Boy Chiller Crew, and more.
As Sky points out, the most recent Reading and Leeds events in 2019 operated at a sold-out capacity of more than 100,000. It’s unclear whether that will be reduced this year or whether any precautions against COVID-19 transmission will be in place. But given that vaccination should be widespread by then and transmission of the coronavirus outdoors is rare, hopefully this kind of gathering will be safe by then. On the other hand, there is still plenty of time for society to further bungle its pandemic suppression effort, and maybe the new variants will mess everything up. We’ll see!