“It’s a very bad signal,” said Olivier Garnier, a spokesman for Hellfest, one of France’s largest events, in a telephone interview. Hellfest hosts around 60,000 heavy metal fans each year, and its iteration scheduled for June 2021 is already sold out.
On Monday, Hellfest sent a three-page letter to Roselyne Bachelot, France’s minister of culture, asking to be certain whether the event could take place and suggested that the festival could test attendees for the virus upon arrival.
On Tuesday, Bachelot rejected the idea that tests would be enough to make festivals possible. “It’s imaginative!” She told a French parliamentary committee, adding that festivals are an obvious potential place of broadcast where people sing, drink and dance together.
The picture is not entirely optimistic across the continent. In Denmark, festivals are preparing for this, said Esben Marcher of Dansk Live, an organization representing festival organizers, in a telephone interview.
“Of course the news from Glastonbury is a big signal for the rest of Europe,” he said, “but I feel like building his website is a much bigger and longer process than it is for anyone else.” Glastonbury is taking months to prepare its fields to hold the event, Marcher said. Danish events could take place in a few weeks.
In December, Roskilde, Denmark’s biggest festival slated for June, announced rapper Kendrick Lamar to headline. Signe Lopdrup, Roskilde’s executive director, said in an email that she was “cautiously optimistic”.