TRNSMT festival still poses Covid risk due to 'heavy breathing' and thousands of revellers, warns health expert

TRNSMT festival could still pose a Covid risk due to the "heavy breathing" of thousands of revellers, a top health expert has warned.

Professor Hugh Pennington said public health chiefs will need to prove whether the event at Glasgow Green will be safe, despite organisers announcing dates for September.

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He said falling Covid cases and a successful roll-out of the vaccine programme are also necessary to ensure young people don’t infect their relatives.

He said: “It’s a difficult one for the public health people. On the one hand we know you are 20 times less likely to get infected outside than inside.

“But on the other hand it depends what you’re doing and how close you are to other people.

“The evidence on big public gatherings outside that leads to an increase in cases is quite hard to get.

“But one of the other risk factors is heavy breathing. The closer you are to somebody when you are heavy breathing is clearly going to raise the likelihood of infection.

“All this needs to be taken into account by local public health people. They’ll need to take a decision on whether the festival is a good idea or not.”

DF Concerts announced the TRNSMT lineup on Friday morning, with the festival moving from its usual summer spots to a weekend in September.

Lewis Capaldi, who announced on Friday that he is postponing all his 2021 shows until next year so he can work on his album, has been replaced as a headliner by The Chemical Brothers.

The closer you are to somebody when you are heavy breathing is clearly going to raise the likelihood of infection

Lewis Capaldi, who announced on Friday that he is postponing all his 2021 shows until next year so he can work on his album, has been replaced as a headliner by The Chemical Brothers.

It was one of a few key changes to the billing, though one artist who is still set to perform is Stone Roses frontman Ian Brown.

But his appearance on the lineup sparked fury among a number of fans, following his controversial anti-vaccine stance.

There were fears among music-lovers that the three-day event would be cancelled due to coronavirus for the second year in a row.

And Prof Pennington has warned that masses of people flocking to Glasgow Green could pose a risk to local transport and businesses.

The Emeritus Professor of Bacteriology at Aberdeen University said some major events at the start of the pandemic were linked to positive cases from abroad.

And with the majority of TRNSMT visitors expected to come from across Scotland, he said the lifting of local restrictions was necessary for the go ahead.

Prof Pennington said: “The biggest risk is not actually Glasgow Green but how the people get there and what they do. Do they retire to pubs and restaurants if they’re open inside?

“Public transport is obviously an issue. Travelling on a train or a bus is much riskier than just standing outside.

“Of course at the moment the Scottish Government is quite cautious about releasing people from lockdown factors, but we don’t know much virus is going to be around in September. That’s one of the big issues.

“The public health people obviously have to determine whether having the event is a risk factor as it’s unlikely the virus will have gone away completely.”

TRNSMT 2021 – Full lineup

The complete lineup for the rescheduled TRNSMT 2021 has been released:

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 10
MAIN STAGE
– Courteeners
– Ian Brown
– Sam Fender
– Blossoms
– KSI
– Yxng Bane
– Inhaler
– House Gospel Choir
– Sports Team

KING TUT'S STAGE
– Little Simz
– Joy Crookes
– The Lathums
– Holly Humberstone
– Berwyn
– Red Rum Club
– Shambolics

RIVER STAGE
– The Ninth Wave
– Walt Disco
– Vlure
– Gallus
– Another Sky
– The Mysterines
– One Nine

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 11
MAIN STAGE
– Liam Gallagher
– Primal Scream
– Keane
– AJ Tracey
– Twin Atlantic
– Picture This
– Sea Girls
– Vistas
– Nathan Evans

KING TUT'S STAGE
– Becky Hill
– Declan Welsh & the Decadent West
– Dylan John Thomas
– The Murder Capital
– Georgia
– Miraa May
– Voodoos
– Mike McKenzie

RIVER STAGE
– Lucia & the Best Boys
– Baby Queen
– Chubby & the Gang
– Charlotte Jane
– The Hara
– Spyres
– Theo Bleak

SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 12
MAIN STAGE
– The Chemical Brothers
– Snow Patrol
– Dermot Kennedy
– Amy Macdonald
– Declan McKenna
– Jay1
– Lyra

KING TUT'S STAGE
– Tom Odell
– Joesef
– Ash
– Ryan McMullan
– Ms Banks
– Kawala
– Luke La Volpe
– Tamzene

RIVER STAGE
– Saint Phnx
– Pip Blom
– Aaron Smith
– Vukovi
– David Keenan
– Lucy Blue
– Sara’n’Junbug

But Geoff Ellis, CEO of DF Concerts, had a more positive outlook over the prevalence of the virus in September.

And the events mogul praised the rollout of the Covid vaccines across the country.

He said: "The vaccine progress is going incredibly well in the UK.

"By September, we don't expect any restrictions on events but we will follow whatever government guidelines are in place at the time.

 

"We are confident about September. With the whole adult population hopefully having been vaccinated by July, that bodes well for September.

"Knowing that England has a date in June for everything opening up and, even though we might be a few weeks behind in Scotland as Nicola Sturgeon has said, things are looking good for September."

Glasgow City Council said the event space was available but that the festival could only go ahead if the government’s rules allow.

A spokesman said: “Glasgow Green is available for use on the dates announced by DF Concerts.

“We are working on an agreement with the promoter that would allow them to use the park for TRNSMT.

“However, the event will only be able to go ahead if permitted by the Scottish Government rules in place at the time.”

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