Music Festivals Attempt Bubble Strategy To Save Outdoor Events

The “Event Bubble” strategy is trying to save music festivals during the COVID-19 pandemic. With not many months left for 2020, perhaps there may be hope for the industry surviving the global lockdown. However, even with such precautionary measures, it is still up to the city to decide.

How It Works

A few days before the event, staff and guests visit verified medical facilities for RT-PCR tests. This test detects the virus’s genetic material and administered through a nasal swab. To eliminate the false negatives, a second test is administered on the day of the festival.

Utopia Music Festival attempted the bubble strategy over Labor Day weekend with an open-air gathering of 250 people. Now, the goal of this strategy is to make large music festivals possible during this global pandemic. It also means to remove the staff and attendees from all outside contact for the duration of the event. Though, there are areas of concern.

Is this legal? Is this ethical? How do we know that the tests report 100% accuracy? We don’t. In fact, false-positive statistics show as low as 2% and as high as 37%. That means a 37% chance that someone can test negative and then positive leading up to the event. Is that something we should leave up to chance? False-positives usually report closer to zero due to user error, but you just never know. With all inhibitions lowered at events, it’s hard to do harm reduction when people gravitate towards each other.

Requiring COVID-19 testing is a significant financial undertaking that might not make sense for DIY events with tight budgets, or for large festivals such as Coachella, whose guests don’t stay on-site. The “Event Bubble” approach can create a virus-free bubble where screened staff and attendees can enjoy the festivities while being removed from the danger of…the rest of the world for the duration of the event. This would however definitely be difficult to enforce and control in larger-scale events let alone the free of false negatives being present at the event. – The Philadelphia Inquirer

For Now…This Is All

Small gatherings seem to be the only way to make things possible right now. Sure, we can chance it like how Utopia did, but certain cities are still under precautionary measures right now. 2021 cannot come any sooner, but we’ll see how it goes.