Ian Brown pulls out of music festival over Covid vaccination row

Brown, a noted Covid sceptic, has withdrawn from the Neighbourhood Weekender festival in Warrington in September

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 misinformation 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.


Laura Snapes

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Richard Ashcroft quits Tramlines festival owing to its Covid research
Verve frontman was set to headline Sheffield event, but says it was ‘sadly forced to become’ a ‘Government Experiment’

Ben Beaumont-Thomas

06, Jul, 2021 @8:30 AM

Article image
Medical experts v anti-vaxxers: the Covid-19 information battle
Scientists face potential struggle to convince people of vaccine safety as celebrities join misinformation chorus

Ben Quinn and Niamh McIntyre

19, Sep, 2020 @5:00 AM

Article image
UK live music and festival sector at risk of collapse due to coronavirus
Independent festivals group says 98% of its members are uninsured for outbreak-related cancellations

Rhian Jones

13, May, 2020 @6:00 AM

Article image
'Not written off yet': music festivals determined to go ahead amid Covid-19
The cancellation of Glastonbury festival for a second year running has cast doubt on the summer’s live music season. But organisers say they are still optimistic – especially if the government helps out

Ben Beaumont-Thomas

22, Jan, 2021 @3:22 PM

Article image
Almost 5,000 Covid cases linked to Cornish music and surf festival
Organisers of Boardmasters say event had measures in place ‘above and beyond national guidelines’Coronavirus – latest updates

Steven Morris

23, Aug, 2021 @6:26 PM

Article image
24-hour Covid benefit concert announced with the Weeknd, Billie Eilish and more
Global Citizen Live to span globe with performances by Ed Sheeran, Coldplay, BTS and more, campaigning for famine relief and donation of Covid vaccines

Ben Beaumont-Thomas

13, Jul, 2021 @1:28 PM

Article image
Music festivals plan for phased return in 2021 after Covid wipeout
In the UK and across Europe flexibility key as organisers put safety precautions in place

Lanre Bakare Arts and culture correspondent

04, Oct, 2020 @1:48 PM

Article image
'I got a job on a fishing trawler' – Covid: one year on, stars of music and theatre look back
In the second of our two-parter, rock stars, roadies, actors, dancers, composers and comics describe how their lives have been transformed without live shows – and imagine what now lies ahead

Dave Simpson , Imogen Tilden, Arifa Akbar, Lyndsey Winship and Brian Logan

22, Mar, 2021 @1:00 PM

Article image
‘There is no safety net’: music festivals in UK raise ticket prices as costs soar
Organisers grapple with increasing financial challenges amid ongoing effects of Brexit and the pandemic

Safi Bugel

21, Oct, 2022 @5:45 PM

Article image
Boardmasters: Cornwall music festival cancelled due to weather warnings
Heavy rain and winds forecast for Newquay means that risks at 50,000-capacity event are ‘too severe’

Ben Beaumont-Thomas

07, Aug, 2019 @8:40 AM