Ian Brown has pulled out of headlining the Neighbourhood Weekender festival in Warrington this September after claiming that all attendees require proof of vaccination.
Brown is a noted Covid sceptic, frequently using his Twitter account to spread disinformation about the virus and protections against it. “I refuse to accept vaccination proof as condition of entry,” he tweeted yesterday.
Promoter SJM Concerts said that it would “comply with the conditions outlined by the government through the local authority. No decisions will be taken by government until 21 June at the earliest.”
Brown previously appealed to festival promoters on Twitter asking them not to work with Sage and the government on vaccine passports, describing the situation as “the new nazi normal”.
Festival organisers recently told the Guardian that social distancing would be impossible at large-scale events. They would comply with suggested measures, whether rapid testing or vaccine passports.
The government has wavered on whether it will enforce vaccine passports. The vaccine minister, Nadhim Zahawi, called them “discriminatory”, but foreign secretary Dominic Raab has said that they are “under consideration”.
UK festivals have reported a sales spike since the government announced the roadmap out of lockdown last week, but organisers remain concerned about the possibility of last-minute cancellations owing to resurgences of the virus, particularly in the absence of a government-backed insurance scheme for live music events.
The government has been resistant to providing such a scheme. The spring budget added £300m investment to the £1.57bn culture recovery fund and saw the extension of the £500m insurance scheme protecting film and TV productions in the UK against the cost of Covid shutdowns until the end of the year.