Don’t forget to wash…your hands! Reading Festival gets underway as thousands of music fans arrive at campsite ahead of three-day bank holiday event

  • The event sees a total of 90,000 people attend over the weekend
  • This time strict Covid-pass rules are in place to keep visitors safe
  • Festival bosses will hope it will not spark cases like other events
  • Boardmasters in Cornwall is suspected of being linked to 4,700 infections
  • Former Oasis frontman Liam Gallagher and Grime king Stormzy headline 

Music lovers today began arriving at Reading Festival amid strict Covid 19 protocols organisers hope will keep the event safe from infections.

The famous three-dayer – which is being headlined by acts including Liam Gallagher and Stormzy – kicks off on Friday.

Reading, which also hosts a sister festival at the same time in Leeds, is allowing campers to pitch up from today ahead of the opening.

Queues of people could be seen with their bags and tents waiting to be allowed in grab a good spot.

Around 90,000 people are expected over the weekend, which is predicted to boast sunny weather to accompany the sounds. 

Organisers Festival Republic will be hoping Covid rules it has put in place will avoid repeats of other events this summer, including Latitude and Boardmasters.

Queues of people were seen outside the Reading grounds ahead of camping starting today

Happy music fans were heading to pitch their tents before the music starts on Friday

Revellers gave a thumbs up as they walked to the grounds ahead of camping opening up

Government figures showed that more than 1,000 Latitude Festival attendees later tested positive for Covid, where 37,000 attended each day.

But Cornwall-based event Boardmasters – which is not run by Festival Republic – was suspected to be linked to 4,700 coronavirus cases, despite restrictions being in place. 

Reading and Leeds say all ticketholders will have to show their Covid-19 status before they are allowed on site.

Boss Melvin Benn also revealed at a recent council committee meeting there were plans for those who may test positive onsite.

Reading and Leeds had to be cancelled last year as the coronavirus pandemic ravaged the UK

Eager fans brought everything they might need for a full weekend of music from big acts

Making a point: One festival goer breaks out in a grin as he is pictured heading to the event

Reading’s rules to enter

Just like many other festivals and events, Reading festival will ask all ticket holders aged 11 and over to demonstrate their COVID-19 Status before entering the festival by providing either:

· Proof of full vaccination – both doses received (with the second at least 14 days prior to the festival) or

· Proof of a negative NHS Lateral Flow Test taken prior to travel on the day of arrival at the festival or

· Proof of natural immunity based upon a positive PCR test within 180 days of the festival (including 10 days self-isolation following the result).

The Yorkshire Evening Post reports he added: ‘If someone comes in late at night and the trains have stopped, they can’t get home to their family, in order to do that we are talking with one local hotel to see if they would accept Covid positive festival goers on a single night basis.

‘We are very much on that. Unfortunately the Covid isolation campsite is a bleak place, obviously because nobody else is in it.

‘So we are looking at ways to make that less bleak or less harsh in a way.

‘We have full policies on that sort of stuff.’

To get in the festival requires proof of full vaccination with both doses received at least two weeks before the event.

Alternatively proof of a negative NHS Lateral Flow Test taken the day before will also be accepted.

Proof of natural immunity based upon a positive PCR test within 180 days of the festival can also be shown to get in.

Reading and Leeds Festival in February became the first major music event to confirm it will go ahead – sparking hopes that other outdoor shows will go ahead this summer.

The surge of sudden interest from excited music fans caused the event’s website to crash within minutes.

Liam Gallagher – seen here at an NHS members’ free concert – is one of the festival headliners

Stormzy – pictured here at Glastonbury – is also set to wow crowds at the event this weekend

Those trying to buy passes or read up on the festival were met with a message saying: ‘Error establishing a database connection’ – but it later came back online.

Mr Benn told NME in January the plans for Reading and Leeds were ‘based on the vaccine first and testing second’, adding: ‘It could be a mix of both.’

He told how ‘we can get away with shows purely on testing’, continuing: ‘It’s immensely hard work, but operationally doable and hopefully unnecessary.’

Mr Benn said of their full capacity plan: ‘The vaccination and verification that you’ve had it would give you that safety of knowing that you’re not going to get super ill.’

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