Inside the UK's COVID pilot festival

This is partying like it’s 2019 inside the UK’s COVID festival experiment.


“Big ups Liverpool for having the first non-socially distanced event in the country.”


"We're just excited, all of us are excited. We're all on the verge of tears ready to go in.”


"I have literally spent three weeks preparing for this outfit. So long, decided what to drink, what to wear, its been, honestly.

Live music returned to the birthplace of The Beatles when the English city of Liverpool hosted a one-off music festival.

5,000 odd people ditched face coverings and social distancing rules in the name of science and music.


"It just feels so good, so amazing, it's been too long."


"It's so strange, honestly, coming in here and just seeing the couple of thousand people who are already here. I mean, I think there's 5,000 people here today. So it's just strange to see people with, like, no masks on and just enjoying themselves.

Lead singer of the band, Blossoms, Tom Ogden.

[Lead Singer Of Band Blossoms, Tom Ogden]"It's been 413 days since we were last on stage in Bournemouth on the 15th of March last year. So it's been a long time and, you know, we're delighted to be here and it's an honour to be asked to do, to do today."

[Lead Singer Of Band Blossoms on stage, Tom Ogden]

“You’re going to have the best night you’ve had in a very, very long time’”

The event took place in a purpose-built tent.

Guests had to arrive having tested negative for COVID-19 and promise to test themselves again five days after the 10pm curfew.


There's been precautions, COVID tests and making sure that everyone, you know, before we even got to the search area, there's people making sure that you tested negative."


"It does feel a bit uncomfortable almost. But I just feel I just feel so happy that it's going ahead and people are allowed to…"

It’s a far cry from the multi-day events like Glastonbury from years gone by.

But the data from this will be used by the government's Events Research Programme to help understand the effect of crowds on the spread of the virus, in the hope that bigger events could return.

Managing Director of the festival, Melvin Benn.

[Managing Director Of Festival Republic, Melvin Benn]

"Just the joy on everybody's faces, you know, the plumbers, the electricians, the stage builders, the lighting teams, the sound teams. Everybody just wants to be back working and you can feel that the burden of the last twelve months, the last fifteen months has just been lifted a little with a bit of expectation that this could be real."


"Let's enjoy life. Let's get back to normal!"