Embracing the new normal – The Netherlands to host two ‘trial’ music festivals next month

While it may be a while before full-scale festivals return, Dutch event collective Fieldlab Evenementen are planning for what that might look like, with the announcement that they are going to hold two ‘trial’ festivals next month.

The events, held in association with dance promoters ID&T and Lowlands festival organisers Mojo, will take place on two as-yet unannounced dates in March, with a capacity of 1,500 people.

According to reports at the weekend, entry to the events, which will be held at the Lowlands site in Biddinghuizen (about 40km east of Amsterdam), will be dependant on showing a negative coronavirus test, as well as undertaking an additional test at the gate.

Each festival goer will also receive a lanyard that will track their movements around the festival, and interaction with other people. Face masks, as you might expect, will be obligatory.

As Lowlands director Eric van Eerdenburg was quoted by Metro Nieuws as saying, it will be important to simulate all the aspects of a fully-fledged festival.

“That way we know what is possible in the event of a subsequent outbreak,” he said. “As a sector, we have to think five or six months ahead to organize a major event. The government often looks at a situation in a few months from now.”

Ahead of the festivals, Fieldlab will assess the safety measures at a theatre performance by cabaret singer Guido Weijers in the Beatrix Theater in Utrecht, a business conference, as well as matches by NEC and Almere City FC.

These will kick off in mid February, having been postponed from January due to the outbreak of the new UK variant.

“This is confirmation of the fact that we have presented a solid plan of action,” said Marcel Elbertse, chairman of the Fieldlab Events Steering Group. “We have always emphasised that these [events] can take place safely and are essential for the entire industry. In principle, every visitor to a pilot event has been tested negative, thus avoiding risk.”

Fieldlab is an initiative by the events sector in association with the Alliantie van Evenementenbouwers (Event Builders Association) and the Dutch government.

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