Following the government announcement of the roadmap to exit lockdown in England it is starting to look like HEFF 2021 may be possible. This will be dependent on the vaccination program continuing to bring down community infection levels close to zero in the UK by August. The event may have to be quite different from previous years to be permitted to take place. The board has to provide a detailed “Event Safety Plan” to the local authority as part of getting a licence to run the event.
To be allowed to run the event we will have to follow whatever government guidelines are in effect for festivals at the time. This might include some or all of the following.
A firm fixed limit on how many people we will have on site, which will be lower than the 2019 event. This means it is unlikely that we would offer day or weekend partner tickets.
Everything taking place in an “outdoor” setting using marquees without walls. This would mean that the workshop program will need to be curtailed if the weather is really bad. Music would have a curfew at 11pm because it is outside. We wouldn’t be able to run a cinema in the daytime, and if we do so in the evening it would be with public domain content only as it’s really expensive to licence commercial films for outdoor showing.
We will need to enhance cleaning in the toilets, at water points, in workshops, and any social spaces we are able to provide, and to provide hand sanitizer and disinfectants at key points.
We will have to comply with whatever guidance is in place at the time regarding mask wearing for adults and older children. You may need to agree to this and let us know if you’re exempt at the time of booking so we can continue to gauge risk.
We will ask for people to volunteer for one “touch-point” cleaning shift during the week to help keep our crew costs down. It would be really helpful if at least one person over 16 from each family group can volunteer for this. Instructions, PPE and cleaning materials will be provided.
We may be required to ask screening questions or use non-contact temperature measurement at check in. Check in may be slower than in previous years.
All payments on site will probably need to be done by card, this will include catering.
We will make our refund policy more flexible, allowing anyone who has suspected Covid symptoms and does not attend, or we have to turn away, to get a refund on their ticket price. We will offer a carry over of tickets to 2022 as an optional alternative to a refund, This is to make it easier for anyone unwell on the day to avoid putting others at risk. We won’t be able to cover any other costs if we have to refuse admission.
It is not possible to obtain cancellation insurance for events at this time. If things go badly for the UK and we are unable to run the 2021 event tickets will carry over to 2022. Home Education Festivals had to take out a government backed loan to allow us to refund 2020 tickets even though we had spent money on the event we could not recover. We need to pay off this loan over the coming 5 years. Factors such as limited numbers, cleaning costs, more flexible refund policy, larger and more marquees all add to our costs for running in 2021, and we anticipate ticket costs will need to be slightly higher this year.
There are a number of things we will need to confirm before we can put tickets on sale, however we are quietly hopeful. Please watch for more news.