Electric Picnic should only go ahead this year if the vaccine rollout is complete, a Laois councillor says.
It comes as organisers say they're 'hopeful' the vaccination rollout will be complete in 'sufficient time' for the Co Laois festival to proceed.
They say the situation is 'in the Government's hands'.
However, it has dismissed a report in the Irish Times that the event will go ahead 'unless the Government tells us otherwise' - saying the comments did not come from an organiser.
3/ The Electric Picnic team remain hopeful that the vaccination roll out will be complete in sufficient time to allow the festival to go ahead obviously but remain in Government hands for that.
— Electric Picnic (@EPfestival) March 8, 2021
Electric Picnic - which usually attracts 70,000 people to the Stradbally site - was cancelled last year, a few months after an initial lineup was announced just days before the country went into its first lockdown.
On Lunchtime Live, one Laois councillor said the festival shouldn't go ahead this year unless there's full vaccination by the planned festival dates in early September.
Fianna Fáil's Paschal McEvoy said: “It would be madness if it were to happen shortly… but we’re five months out from it.
“It’s probably a bit early to be making a decision on it, but I would be skeptical of it this year. People will still be fearful of COVID, even with the vaccinations.
“We’re after surviving the last 12 months - another 12 months without it would probably be the safest options.
“If the vaccines aren’t at 100% at that stage, I would be totally opposed to having Electric Picnic."
Councillor McEvoy said the vaccination programme has been a 'tremendous' success so far, and he wouldn't have a problem with the festival going ahead if the wider rollout is a success.
However, he suggested people may need a 'bit of time' post-vaccination before returning to large-scale events.
'Huge appetite' for live events
If festivals do get the green light to go ahead later in the year, there are questions about whether organisers will be able to pull together an event in time.
Daniel Browne, one of the organisers of the Sea Sessions festival in Bundoran, said music festivals take 12 months to plan.
He said: “At least a year out - [that's what] you’re looking at your event if it’s on the scale we are. For something like Electric Picnic… that’s a massive undertaking.
"There’s a huge appetite out there for events to come back… but everyone wants to do it safely.”
For now, organisers such as Daniel are being pragmatic about what will be possible as everyone's working in a 'realm of uncertainty'.
However, he did say the Government needs to give clarity on the live music support scheme, saying there's no application process open yet.
Musician Roisin O, meanwhile, suggested it's time for some optimism.
She said: “We understand we’re doing it together - it has to be done. It was the first sector to go out and it will probably be the last sector to come back in.
“I just think we need to start being optimistic, and hoping for the future that these things are going to eventually come back in."
With a plan to vaccinate adults by September, Roisin said a target date for live performances to resume could give artists a 'good roadmap' to start planning ahead.