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Electric Picnic organiser 'very confident' festival will go ahead in September

Melvin Benn said he based his optimism on the fact no one in Government had told him the event would not be allowed.

Image: PA Images

THE ORGANISER OF Electric Picnic has expressed confidence that it will get the go-ahead this year.

Managing director of Festival Republic Melvin Benn said he based his optimism on the fact no one in Government had told him the event in Stradbally, Co Laois would not be allowed.

Covid-19 rules currently limit numbers at the majority of organised outdoor events to 500 at venues with capacity in excess of 5,000.

While a number of test events have been staged, Ireland’s live music and entertainment sector remains effectively closed down due to coronavirus regulations.

However, the organisers of Electric Picnic hope the festival can go ahead at the end of September with 70,000 attendees, with entry conditions including proof of vaccination or of having already recovered from the virus.

Last year’s festival was cancelled due to the pandemic.

Tickets bought back then remain valid for the rescheduled event and 90% have already been sold.

Benn told RTÉ Radio One: “100% fully expecting the Electric Picnic to be going ahead on the basis that 100% nobody has told me I won’t be able to and the speed of vaccination rollout in Ireland if it was submitted to the Tokyo Olympics would win gold.

“And we are very confident that it would happen.”

He added: “I’m investing and all of the teams are investing in the effort to try and make sure that the Picnic can happen by presuming that we are going ahead and I’m saying ‘presuming’ that we are going ahead, because let’s be 100% clear here, nobody’s told me I can’t go ahead.”

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Last week, the promoters and organisers wrote to members of the Government outlining proposals for staging the event with various Covid safety measures in place.

Benn added: “I guess the status is very straightforward from my point of view, which is that I am very actively undertaking the planning of Electric Picnic.

Because I very actively believe that the Electric Picnic will take place and I say that because I can’t see any reason at this point in time why it wouldn’t take place at the end of September.

“We are two months away from it.”

Last month Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said proof of vaccination or Covid-19 recovery could be used, in conjunction with testing, to help live music events resume.

The Government currently intends to outline a plan at the end of the month that will set out a pathway for reopening the sector.

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