The Malta Independent 15 August 2020, Saturday

Updated: Major international music festivals cancelled due to COVID-19

Friday, 31 July 2020, 17:49 Last update: about 15 days ago

Four large international music festivals which are set for later this summer have been cancelled due to growing concerns related to Covid-19.

The four events that were planned for August and September were the BPM Festival Malta, Escape 2, The Island, Mi Casa Festival and Rhythm and Waves Festival.

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The BPM festival, the largest of the four released a statement saying that after close conversations with their partners at the Maltese Tourism Authority, the festival will not be taking place. “We worked closely with the Maltese Authorities from the beginning to put on the BPM Festival: Malta, but in light of the recent increase in COVID-19 cases over the past week, the BPM Festival: Malta can no longer take place in a safe manner.”

The festival stated that all customers will receive a full refund on their festival tickets, and recommended that all ticket holders get in touch with their travel and accommodation provider for  further information regarding their flights and hotel bookings.

Escape 2 The Island, and Mi Casa Festival posted identical statements, whilst Rhythm and Waves Festival announced the cancellation on their website.

The parties were promoted on an international level, welcoming international and local partygoers for the large events.

The BBC in fact on Wednesday reported that Malta was hoping to be the 2020 hotspot for festivals such as these, aiming to welcome thousands of party-goers from overseas.

The report came as Malta continues to face an increase in the number of cases of the virus, with two mass events – a weekend-long party at a hotel and a village feast – being the main contributors to this increase. 

During a press conference on Thursday, Health Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Chris Fearne announced a number of new measures pertaining to mass gatherings.

He announced a new restriction on headcount at events and mass parties, along with the cancellation of feast marches.

In a statement on Friday, the Superintendence for Public Health said that, in the context of the COVID-19 transition phase, gatherings and mass events present a risk of increasing the transmission rate of the virus in view of the potential for close contact between many persons for an extended time period.

The more people an individual interacts with at a gathering or mass event and the longer that interaction lasts, the higher the potential of becoming infected with COVID-19 and of COVID-19 spreading.

Higher levels of community transmission at the time of the event and in the area that the gathering is being held can result in a higher potential for COVID-19 spread during the gathering. In this context, large events have a particularly substantial impact on the health system capacity and resources if they result in a significant number of new COVID-19 cases.

“For this reason, the Superintendence of Public Health reiterates its position that it is not in favour of the organisation of mass gatherings or events. Nonetheless, these standards have been issued to mitigate against the transmission of COVID-19 in events and gatherings as defined within this document.”

It also released a number of guidelines for mass events.

The Medical Association of Malta, which has been at the forefront of calls for all mass events to be called off, however said that the restrictions were not good enough, and that they would go ahead with industrial action on Monday if the events are not cancelled.

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