UK releases first official report from ongoing Event Research Programme

Image by Carl Recine

Following an ongoing series of pilot events testing the risk of mass gatherings, the UK government has released the first official report from the Event Research Programme (ERP). The programme was put in motion earlier this year to investigate the risks of hosting mass events without distancing protocols. Entry to these events was dependent on a negative PCR test, and an agreement to a follow up test ten days after the event. 

The report covers findings from the programme’s first nine pilot events, including Circus’s two-day rave, ‘The First Dance,’ which ran in Liverpool. In the case of these events, of the 7,100 people in attendance only ten cases were reported. A total number of 28 cases was reported across the nine pilot events. The events amassed a total attendance of 58,000 people combined. Other findings included evidence that has been more or less known, such as large crowds at indoor venues with poor ventilation posing more of a risk for transmission. 

The findings suggest that there had been no significant outbreaks of Covid-19 at any of these pilot events. However, it was noted that the data may be skewed based on the percentage of people who returned PCR tests as requested following their attendance at the events. In the case of the Circus events, only 28% of those who attended returned PCR tests as requested following the event. 

The report arrives at a time of unrest for the UK’s nightlife and live music industries. Following a potential outbreak of the Delta variant, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson delayed the reopening of the sector until mid-July. This spurred much criticism and action from music industry and nightlife workers, such at the #FreedomToDance protest rave hosted by Save Our Scene (SOS) in London last week. 

The second phase of the ERP has already commenced, and included a new edition of the Latitude Music Festival. The full ERP report is available to read here.