Will any festivals happen this summer?

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In the middle of winter, dreaming of summer plans is one of the things that gets you through. Now, more than ever, those dreams are so important to cling on to.

But if those dreams involve drinking warm cider in a muddy field and singing your heart out with thousands of others, it's suddenly looking a bit bleak again.

When last year's festival season was wiped out, there were many promises of events coming back bigger and better in 2021. Most of us thought - at least hoped - everything would be back to normal.

But now Glastonbury has cancelled there are big doubts about the rest of the summer's festivals - although not all hope is gone.

So what are the risks and how's the uncertainty affecting those whose jobs depend on them?

Scroll to the bottom for a list of what major UK festivals are saying.

The virologist

Most of us probably like to think we've become at least partly expert in explaining how viruses spread - with the relentless Hands, Face, Space messaging.

So it's not hard to see why thousands of people crammed up against each other in a sweaty tent is problematic.

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image captionCrowdsurfing seems a world away right now

"People singing and small spaces are perfect ways for the virus to spread," explains virologist Dr Naomi Forrester-Soto.

"The virus is transmitted as you breathe or as you talk or as you sing. The louder you are, the more air you expel from your lungs - and if you're infected, the more virus you expel from your lungs."

In other words, singing makes you more infectious.

Dr Forrester-Soto says it's wrong to think festivals will be safe just because they're outside.

"Outside is always safer than inside because there's more air to blow the virus away from you.

"But if you're all huddled together and singing loudly, there are still big risks."

She also says we shouldn't think everything will get back to normal now people are getting vaccinated.

"We still don't know how long the vaccine protects you for - or whether it stops you from passing it on to others. Until we do, all the social distancing rules have to remain," she says.

At a festival, it's simply not realistic to expect those rules to be followed all the time. And although there are ideas such as everyone having a test before they attend, making that happen is a huge logistical challenge.

The artist

Lauran Hibberd's a singer songwriter from the Isle of Wight. She played Glastonbury in 2019. It was her first Glasto, both as a performer and a punter.

She was booked for a load of festivals across 2020 - and had to watch as each one got cancelled - making it far harder to broaden her fan base.

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"It was a bit gutting for sure," she tells Radio 1 Newsbeat - and admits she spent a few months feeling very low before throwing herself into writing new material.

"I didn't realise how important it was to sit at home and have that time to get into a space where you can create. But I am at the point now where, you know, I would really, really, really like to get back on stage."

But it's not looking good.

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image captionLauran's embraced online performing but says it just isn't the same

"I think everyone sort of left 2020 like, 'Oh, can't wait for 2021'. And it's actually been a pretty catastrophic start. It's hard to obviously, you know, keep positive looking at the year ahead."

When festivals cancelled last year, many said the line-ups would roll over to 2021 - but Lauran's not sure they'll do that "for two years in a row".

"I think most artists are sort of willing to do whatever it takes to still be on the top of the list when it comes back round for festival season."

And while Lauran's put loads of effort into getting her music out on social media and playing virtual and socially-distanced gigs, "there's nothing to compare to sort of being in a room, shoulder to shoulder with a bunch of different people, watching your favourite artists".

The Festival Organiser

Around now, Anna Wade would be getting ready to announce the headliners for Boomtown.

The festival near Winchester's still scheduled for early August - but nothing's definite.

"The cancellation of Glastonbury has got us all worried. If we can't go ahead this year, it would be absolutely devastating," says Anna.

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image captionRight now, it's impossible to say which festivals will definitely go ahead

Instead of finalising bands, the team's "having to think about every single risk and mitigating factor and how we manage that. Our heads are deep down in how we can put on a safe, secure and fun festival".

It takes an army of people to pull off a big festival and Anna fears for all those involved, not just the organisers.

"A huge amount of highly skilled people would rely on festivals being a large part of their summer income."

If they are forced to cancel, she hopes people would be happy to roll over their tickets for a second year running.

"That's been the key to our survival. If customers stay with us, we'd look to get through this but it's so precarious right now," she adds.

What Anna can't do is say for sure when a final decision will be made - and hopes things will become more clear in the next few months.

Festivals - what we know right now

Lots of festivals haven't said anything definite yet. We'll keep updating this page when we hear anything.

Glastonbury - Cancelled.

Radio 1 Big Weekend - No news at this stage.

Reading and Leeds - Hoping to make announcement by 1 March

Download - Announcement expected by 1 March

Notting Hill Carnival- Preparing for every eventuality but no decision yet.

TRNSMT - Still optimistic of going ahead, more news expected early March.

Boomtown - No decision.

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