Just 480 people, and beers delivered to your tent: What the first post-Covid music festival will look like

·4-min read
The new festival will be glamping-only - getty
The new festival will be glamping-only - getty

Take your bubble to Lancashire this summer for some socially-distanced raving

Britons have long loved their festivals, arriving in their droves to Edinburgh and buying up Glastonbury tickets within seconds every summer. So the news that many of the UK’s most iconic festivals have been cancelled or postponed to 2021 due to coronavirus has led to widespread disappointment, both for punters and artists. 

Hope for the future of the post-Covid festival is in sight, however, with the news that the first ‘socially-distant’ festival will be launching in the UK this summer. 

Taking place from July 11 to August 30 2020, the new Gisburne Park Pop Up will happen in Lancashire, on the Gisburne Park Estate: a historic Grade I-listed, 1,000-acre private estate within the Ribble Valley. Festival-goers will be able to purchase day passes or multi-day glamping tickets.

The festival may not be quite as gritty as Glastonbury – it is sponsored by Moët et Chandon, among others – but it is a firm blueprint for how festivals may be able to run in the era of social distancing. 

Rather than a single wild long weekend or manic week, this new festival will run over eight weeks, a move which has allowed for more space to be allocated to visitors. Capacity is limited to 480 people per day, and social distancing measures include individual hexagonal pitches designed for social bubbles of up to six people, each spaced 2.6m apart. 

Private pitches looking across to the main stage
Private pitches looking across to the main stage

A bar-to-pitch service will be set up, with food and drinks being delivered directly to customers to circumvent queuing. A one-way system will also be in operation to ensure festival-goers can make their way around the 10-acre site with a minimum of 2m physical distance between themselves and other guests.

Despite these limits, the festival is expecting to welcome 24,000 socially-conscientious guests over the two month run. 

The festival is generally divided between music-focused weekends and gentler weeks. A truer music festival experience will happen on weekends, when UK Dance music talents like Jonas Blue, Sam Divine and Shapeshifters appear at a weekly ‘Party in the Park’ experience. 

The ‘Party in the Park’ will take place every Friday and Saturday evening, and allow for socially distanced raving. DJs will also be performing on the banks of the river with sophisticated stage production. Headline act, Jonas Blue, will be performing on the August bank holiday weekend, while a full line-up can be found on the festival website.

A ‘pub garden’ is also planned for Sunday evenings, where guests can watch bands on stage with pub roasts and real ales.

The new festival will take place in Lancashire's beautiful Ribble Valley
The new festival will take place in Lancashire's beautiful Ribble Valley

Families and those looking for a quieter time will be able to attend immersive movie-nights, including dress-up showings of Grease, Dirty Dancing, Frozen and more. Family-focused entertainment includes an on-stage Disney Sing-along with actors and opera performances.

Naturally, the social distancing measures have their limitations in terms of the festival experience. The rules lend themselves to a more luxurious kind of event, which the new festival has leant into. For many this will be no bad thing. 

Instead of bringing their own tents, anyone looking to stay over will need to book into the Gisburne Park Glamping Village. Inside are ten five-metre bell tents, each fully furnished with a double bed and electricity, with access to on-site private showers. Tents also include a decked area with your own fire pit.

Family glamping is available during the week from Monday to Thursday, while weekends will be strictly adults-only. 

Food and drink is similarly high end. Bespoke bottled cocktails created for the festival by Lyaness, Three Sheets and Filthy XIII – three of the country’s top cocktail bars – will be available alongside the usual line up of soft drinks, bottled beers, and wine. Food will include gourmet burgers and hot dogs, as well as vegetarian and vegan options.

Inside one of the bell tents
Inside one of the bell tents

“After a summer of cancelled events, we wanted to deliver a unique, safe experience for people to enjoy outdoors with the Gisburne Park Pop-Up festival,” said the Events Director of the festival, Robyn Isherwood. 

“Our guests’ health and safety is our number one priority. We’ve ensured everyone can relax and enjoy the experience, safe in the knowledge that the strictest social distancing and hygiene measures are in place for all customers, staff and entertainers.” 

Tickets to the Gisburne Park festival (gisburneparkpopup.com) will be available to buy from this Saturday, July 4. Despite the luxury, pricing is surprisingly reasonable.

Prices start from £20 for a hexagonal pitch, and ticketed events start from £10 per adult and £5 per child. Boutique glamping starts from £120 per tent per night.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting