New Covid-19 planning guidance published for UK festivals

Updating guidance launched today includes contributions from across the festival industry working in collaboration with DCMS and Public Health England

London, 13th October 2020

Newly published festival guidance around Covid-19 will assist festival organisers, safety advisory group members, local directors of public health and other industry parties in assessing risk levels and planning festivals based on a flexible, pragmatic and realistic approach to the current pandemic.

The planning framework is a live document, and will be updated on a monthly basis. It has been developed by a coalition of industry bodies including the Association of Independent Festivals (AIF) – whose Ops Group led on the document – the Association of Festival Organisers (AFO), the Events Industry Forum (EIF) and Attitude Is Everything.

The working group also includes the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) and Public Health England (PHE) who provided input on the development of the guidance.

The new guidance is available for free on The Purple Guide website  ( from today (October 13th) and outlines planning considerations with the purpose of supporting festival organisers as well as relevant authorities and agencies in taking a bespoke risk assessment approach, where events are able to follow Government guidance and regulations.

It covers eight key themes and Covid-19 safety measures, including medical and welfare arrangements; crowd considerations; response plans; security; site adjustments; and specific mitigation measures.  

As the guidance is updated regularly, members of the working group will run monthly webinars to update the festival sector and others. Agencies at a national level are being invited to provide input on an ongoing basis.

AIF CEO Paul Reed said: “Risk mitigation is what festival promoters do for a living, so the intent of this guidance is to outline Covid-19 specific planning considerations that will allow for bespoke risk assessment approaches in liaison with relevant authorities and agencies. I’d like to thank the AIF Ops Group for leading on this important piece of work and also DCMS, PHE officials and the wider festival industry for their invaluable contributions.”

General Secretary of the AFO, Steve Heap, said: “Next summer may seem far away but, in terms of festival planning, it is right around the corner. UK festivals are a world leading industry and, with tools such as this in place, we are ready to re-emerge and stage Covid safe and successful festivals in 2021. On behalf of AFO members, my thanks to colleagues at AIF for their work in developing this much needed guidance.”

The document can be accessed here



The Association of Independent Festivals (AIF) is the UK’s leading national not for profit festival trade association representing the interests of 105 UK music festivals, ranging from 500 to 80,000 capacity.