Covid: Isle of Wight Festival safer than supermarket, says boss

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Image source, Getty Images
Image caption, Band Duran Duran are headlining the Isle of Wight Festival

Attending the Isle of Wight Festival will be safer than going to the supermarket, its organiser has said.

The four-day event, from Thursday to Sunday, is back in Newport, after it was cancelled last year due to Covid-19.

Festival boss John Giddings said the event would be "very safe" due to the festival's Covid-19 measures.

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption, French DJ David Guetta will also be performing

Speaking to the BBC, he said: "To get in you have to show you've had either two jabs [Covid-19 vaccine] 14 days prior, a [negative] lateral flow test or be immune [based on a positive PCR test within the last 180 days and 10 days self-isolation].

"It's safer to come here than your local supermarket - where you don't have to show anything."

It comes after organisers moved the event from June to after 19 July - when Covid restrictions were lifted, so the event could go ahead this year, and not be cancelled for a second year in a row.

Image caption, Festival boss John Giddings said attending the festival would be safer than going to the supermarket
Image caption, Preparations being made at the Isle of Wight Festival in Seaclose Park, Newport

Several artists - including The Novatones, Charlotte Awberry and The Snuts - announced they were pulling out of performing due to illness or close contacts testing positive for coronavirus.

Despite assurances, some local businesses have decided to shut during the festival due to fears about Covid rates rising, as thousands of revellers descend on the town.

Fairlee Service Station - a workshop, petrol station and shop - said in a statement: "We feel it is important to put our staff first and protect them as far as possible from Covid-19."

Responding to critics, Mr Giddings added: "You need to put things together again and live life... there has to be some return to reality somewhere along the line and we have to learn to live with it to protect ourselves.

"It's open air, it's not a restaurant indoors, it's not a pub indoors."

'Feel comfortable'

Festival-goer Michaela Cater, from Hythe, Hampshire, said: "[Staff] did all the checks before coming to the festival today, and also coming into the tent making sure everyone had their Covid pass and checking all of the requirements.

"I feel extremely safe, and also in my camping area and in the toilets they have hand sanitiser."

Louis Kearney, Hempden Bridge, West Yorkshire, said: "I prefer to be at an event which is outdoors, instead of an indoor experience.

"I'm still reluctant to go to indoor events, but I'm happy to be here and glad it's back. I feel quite safe and comfortable."

Island public health boss Simon Bryant asked people not to attend if they had symptoms and for ticket holders to take regular tests on-site.

Image caption, The island's public health boss insisted "robust" safety measures were in place
Image caption, Festival-goers are required to provide proof of full vaccination, a negative lateral flow test or natural immunity

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