Boardmasters festival took place earlier this month
More than 4,000 coronavirus infections have been linked to Boardmasters music festival in Cornwall earlier this month.
Health officials are currently investigating 4,700 cases following the event in Newquay, which took place between August 11 and 15.
The festival, which featured Jorja Smith, Gorillaz, and Mahalia, among others, required ticket holders to demonstrate their COVID-19 status with a negative lateral flow test, taken within 24 hours of arrival; proof of full vaccination (with the second dose received at least 14 days ahead of the festival); or proof of natural immunity, following a positive PCR test taken at least 10 days ago.
Campers were also required to bring a lateral flow test with them, which they took on the third day of the festival and logged the results of the test in the NHS Covid app. Campers were then issued new wristbands for re-entry to the site.
Anyone who tested positive at the festival was instructed to “immediately put a face mask on and wash / sanitise your hands” before making plans to evacuate the site.
Punters were encouraged to wear face masks, but it was not compulsory.
“Like many, I caught Covid at Boardmasters despite the mandated day 1 + 3 lat-flows. No complaints as I knew the risks, however, means either lat-flows aren’t reliable for such events, or Covid-positive people faked negative results. A lot to learn here for gov/event organisers,” tweeted Coventry councillor Nathan Griffiths.
Professor Mike Wade, deputy regional director and NHS regional director of public health for Public Health England South West, said: “We are working with colleagues at Cornwall Council to monitor what impact the Boardmasters Festival may have had on Covid case numbers, and we are starting to see cases reporting that they attended the event prior to developing symptoms or testing positive. We will continue to monitor the data closely as we have throughout the pandemic.”
A spokesperson for Boardmasters said: “Since the government allowed live events to return, we have worked closely with Cornwall Council’s public health team, putting in place risk management measures above and beyond national guidelines.”
“These included the use of the NHS Covid Pass as a condition of entry, which was introduced during the Government Events Research Programme earlier this year and is being recommended as a best-practice at other large events,” they added.
“The system detected more than 450 people who would have otherwise been at risk of passing on the virus and as a result did not attend our Watergate Bay site or left the festival early. We are grateful to them and everyone else who tool the extra steps this year,” they concluded. ”We will continue to work with our public health partners to understand the extent to which attendance at the festival has contributed to the figures.”
Cornwall currently has the second highest rate of new Covid cases in England. As of 19 August, there were 717.4 Covid infections per 100,000 in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.