Stephen McNeice
Stephen McNeice

07.42 14 May 2021


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The organisers of a planned Sligo music and arts festival say they're running a 'demonstration' event today to show how rapid antigen tests can allow for the return of live music.

The Wild Roots festival is due to take place between 13th and 15th August, not far from Sligo town.

A mix of Irish and international performers - including Kaiser Chiefs, James Morrison, Aslan and Damien Dempsey - are lined up for the event.

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Ahead of that, however, organisers want to prove that they can allow performances to take place safely this summer and beyond.

Neil O’Connell, director of the festival, spoke to Newstalk Breakfast.

He explained: “What we have up in Sligo is a couple of bands coming up doing a live recording. What we’re really doing is a demonstration on how we can run our event with a testing company.

“We’re going to be testing our crew and staff coming in with rapid antigen testing.

“After this event, we’re hoping we can showcase to our local authorities and agencies that we can run safe events - and this is how we can do it.”

He said today's event will be a "small demonstration", and they'll release full details of their trial later in the day.

However, he added: “I believe there’s been enough pilot tests done over in UK and Europe that we can use the data from those results and start putting them into place in Ireland ourselves.”

The Government says it plans to run test live events from as early as next month, ahead of any full reopening.

While the organisers of July’s Longitude festival have cancelled their event, organisers of other festivals such as Electric Picnic are hoping they can proceed as planned later in the year.

Arts and Culture Minister Catherine Martin said she's "cautiously hopeful" such events can go ahead.

Large trial events with thousands of people have taken place in the UK, using antigen testing to allow people to attend without masks or social distancing.

Main image: File photo. Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

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