Concert, Party, Rave

Portugal is studying the use of ‘safe bubbles’ to reactivate summer festivals

We have just entered February, but the question that continues to hang in the minds of all festival-goers is ‘will there be summer festivals’? It may seem like a long time before summer, but the big decisions will have to be revealed in advance. Meanwhile, a lot happens behind the curtain, where associations, organizations and governments try to reach solutions. In Portugal, ‘safe bubbles’ are now being studied as a possibility to restart live entertainment this year.

Although it gives no guarantee about the possibility of holding music events this summer, the Portuguese government is willing to analyze the solutions brought by and for the industry. On January 16, a meeting was held between the government and the show business promoters: the Association of Portuguese Music Festivals (Aporfest), the Association of Show Agents and Promoters (AEAPP) and the Association of Promoters, Shows, Festivals and Events (APEFE). Álvaro Covões, director of APEFE and general director of Everything is New (NOS Alive festival promoter) explains to the national magazine of the sector BLITZ the concept of covid-free bubbles, that APEFE presented to the Minister of Culture Graça Fonseca:

What we are trying to study is exactly the possibility of creating bubbles in events, as is done today in hospitals (…) To be operated you have to be tested and you only enter the hospital after being tested. Trips are also bubbles. People, theoretically, to get on a plane have to be all tested and negative.

Safe bubbles are inspired by hospitals and can be even more sterile than the hospital environment but should only be implemented with scientific support. Álvaro Covões goes deeper saying:

‘In hospitals, people who work there are not tested every day, they go from their environment to work, so you have no 100% guarantees’.

These bubbles are not new and have already been used in another music event. The head of Everything is New said that the conversations taking place in Portugal with the government are similar to those in other countries, such as Spain:

The Spanish government is working with a consultant on post-Pandemic economic reopening policies to make it work. Barcelona, for example, is very focused on this, both the municipality and the autonomous government [Catalonia], because in June they have a big electronics fair, they have Sónar and Primavera Sound, and they absolutely want to be up and running by then, because if they don’t, they will ruin another economic year.

It is recalled that this and any other solution for a brief return to live performances only considers a vaccinated and properly tested audience, but considerable caution is needed in optimism. Álvaro Covões admits that there is a great lack of definition with regard to the holding of music festivals:

‘A scenario where predictions are being pushed forward because no one has yet understood group immunity [when will be achieved] and the [widespread] vaccination of the population.

A new meeting to review this and other solutions for the industry is scheduled for tomorrow February 3rd. We will be waiting for good news regarding summer festivals from Portugal, where Electric Daisy Carnival is expected to take place on June (18, 19 and 20) at Praia de Rocha Beach.


Photo by A. L. on Unsplash