Beardy Folk Festival Under Covid restrictions
Beardy Folk Festival (Sept 17th – 20th 2020)
Under Covid restrictions – A brief report
Beardy Folk Festival is situated near Cleobury Mortimer near Kidderminster. The event was held in Hopton Court and the usual capacity of the festival is 5000. However, for this year’s event tickets were limited to 750. This was the only folk festival to attempt to run under current Covid guidelines this year.
On arrival there was direct access to the campsites and parking fields with minimal person to person contact. Customers had been sent wristbands in advance and were asked to be wearing them on arrival. The stewards were very politely making sure everyone went to allocated camping fields, rather than changing sites to camp with friends etc. etc.
The camp sites had plenty of space and were marked out with Eurotape to allow 7m x 8m camping pitches for each tent/camper/caravan. The campsites were equipped with shower blocks and a large number of stand-alone portable toilets. Remote controlled hand sanitiser stations were situated outside the showers and toilets. The toilets and showers were regularly monitored and cleaned. Also, information sent to customers requested using of sanitiser before and after using the facilities. The campsites were also patrolled by stewards and security checking that groups of people didn’t exceed the “rule of six”. Again, this was done in a pleasant and courteous manner.
The Concert Field was marked out with different sized shapes (different shapes for different numbers allowed) at regular intervals across the field. People were asked to stay within their area and not move from bubble to bubble.
This appeared to work very successfully. All access points to the concert field were marked as “single file entry” and the access areas were at least 4-5m wide in each direction. There were no apparent pinch points where crowding might occur. Again, toilets were managed in the same way as camping fields.
Bar & Food Court
The Bar was set out in a similar fashion to any supermarket/shop checkout. With aisles marked at 2m distances and a single file entry and exit. Screens were across the service points and payment was encouraged to be cashless.
This seemed to work very well without any significant queueing. The festival had a continuous stream of live music over two stages which didn’t leave gaps for the audience to group together with nothing to keep them occupied. The food concessions operated in a similar way.
Artists were asked to stagger their arrival backstage and not arrive until the act prior to them had started their show. There were no dressing rooms backstage, but they had a large open sided marquee area 20m x 10m for dropping equipment and setting up. The stage had two entrances, on and off and we could not enter the stage area until the stage manager gave clearance. Between acts all microphone stands and monitor speakers were sprayed with sanitiser and bands were requested to bring their own vocal microphones. Also, while a band and the two-stage crew were setting up face masks were worn. Apart from the monitor engineer no-one else remained on stage while the performance happened. It felt very safe.
The entire festival was based in the open air, there were no undercover areas that people could congregate in.
This made the festival feel incredibly safe. The overwhelming feeling was that we felt safer than visiting a pub garden or supermarket. It wasn’t the complete festival experience due to the lack of satellite events, such as craft markets, workshop events etc. but it proved that an event can happen in a safe and controlled environment.
Simon Care - Musician - on behalf of AFO
Lioux Heap - on behalf of AFO
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