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Summer Sandwell Valley music events set to go ahead despite variant fears

A festival organiser has said he is 'very confident' that events will go ahead this summer, despite fears of Covid cases rising.

The last Made Festival at Perry Park in 2019
The last Made Festival at Perry Park in 2019

Pete Jordan, managing director of Weird Science, the promoters behind MADE Festival and UB40 Live From The Valley, says that thanks to the extensive vaccine roll out in the region the events are still on course to take place.

It comes as the number of cases of the Indian variant has increased from 157 to 258 in one week across the West Midlands.

The last Made Festival at Perry Park in 2019

Made Festival, set to go ahead at Sandwell Valley on July 31, is a day festival with a capacity of approximately 20,000 tickets.

The upcoming UB40 concert on August 1 and Elrow events in September at the same venue all have a capacity of 8,000.

Despite these being some of the largest events to be planned in the region for more than a year, Pete is confident that they will all go ahead.

He said: "My honest truth is at this point the event will go ahead as planned, and I hope they will.

"We have made sure that we have put ourselves in a position where we can make a decision [to cancel] as late as possible as need be."

The last Made Festival at Perry Park in 2019

Despite uncertainty around all restrictions easing on June 21 due to the Indian variant spreading across the UK, Mr Jordan does not believe that this will impact the events at Sandwell Valley.

He added: "Local lockdowns are the biggest concern for an event organiser.

"Having an event in Sandwell Valley wouldn't mean there would be a big crossover of mutations between people, we have mitigation processes and health and safety in place anyway.

"It is worrying when you have that one thing that is hanging over you that could change everything, but at the same time the vaccine programme seems to have been an amazing thing. I have nothing but praise for those involved in it."

The last Made Festival at Perry Park in 2019

It is currently uncertain whether rapid testing, social distancing and masks will need to be worn by event-goers at Sandwell Valley and this will depend on Government guidance.

Made Festival was previously held at Perry Park in Birmingham, last year was the inaugural year for the event to be held at Sandwell Valley, however, it was cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Pete described having to cancel's last years event as 'mortifying'.

"We are a very compliant industry, we work on policies and very closely with the authorities," He added.

"We will do whatever we need to do to keep our audience safe, we would no way ever put their safety above the event going ahead.

"In the case of what we lost through the pandemic it was disappointing and a lot of people have struggled financially due to loss of income and events, that is one of the big reasons for wanting the industry to return, for the economic and social benefits behind these events.

"We are really looking forward to the summer, we have had amazing support from Sandwell Council and are looking forward to building our relationships and bringing amazing events to the valley."

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