Reading and Leeds festivals to return for 2021 following 'roadmap' announcement

24 February 2021, 15:40

Reading and Leeds are the first major UK festivals to announce they will go ahead in 2021.
Reading and Leeds are the first major UK festivals to announce they will go ahead in 2021. Picture: PA

By Joe Cook

Reading and Leeds music festivals and Birmingham Pride are among major events to announce they will go ahead this summer, after the government released its roadmap out of lockdown.

On Monday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson set out his plan for unlocking the economy, including a target of allowing larger events and nightclubs to reopen from 21 June.

This date will be contingent on the vaccine rollout, infection rates and no new variants of concern arising.

However, the PM has been openly discussing the use of rapid testing and even vaccine passports, as a potential “route forward” to opening industries that have been “the toughest nuts to crack”.

Read more: Key dates and steps of when coronavirus restrictions will be lifted

In a major sign that confidence is building amongst the events industry, multiple organisers have confirmed that they plan to go ahead this year.

The organisers of sister music festivals Reading and Leeds tweeted on Wednesday: "Following the Government's recent announcement, we can't wait to get back to the fields this summer. LET'S GO."

The booking website crashed due to a flood of demand.

Known for their mix of rap, rock and pop, the events normally have a combined capacity of over 180,000 and are set to happen over the August bank holiday weekend.

Birmingham Pride has also announced it will go ahead on 25th and 26th of September.

In a statement posted online, they said: “After a hugely challenging and distressing year for all of us, and following the latest government information on the ending of lockdown restrictions... we are delighted to announce... the new dates for this year's Birmingham Pride.”

Director Lawrence Barton told LBC it was “just unbelievable” that the 50,000 event would be going ahead.

“I never actually thought that we would reach this point this year, I had lost almost all hope and really didn’t think Birmingham Pride would happen, again.”

There is also hope for football fans, with England set to play the Czech Republic in the Euros on June 22, opening up the possibility of playing in front of a full crowd.

However, for some the announcement has come too late, especially after the festival circuit was effectively wiped out last year.

Read more: Priti Patel: It's still 'far too early' to book summer holidays

In January Glastonbury was cancelled for a second successive year after organisers said they had tried to "move heaven and earth".

Festivals added £1.76 billion in gross value to the economy in 2019, with almost one in three Brits watching Glastonbury on TV.

Last month the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee wrote to Chancellor Rishi Sunak to ask him to extend Government-backed insurance schemes to music and performing arts festivals.

The committee have also launched an inquiry into the future of festivals.