Multi-day music festivals are finally coming back after two dreary years, thank gawd, but they’ll no doubt look a little different to what we remember due to that old chestnut, COVID-19. Organisers are implementing new health and safety policies and attendees are adopting new health habits to stay safe.

Kicking this festy season off is Splendour in the Grass in Byron Bay which has been on hiatus since 2019 so this is gonna be big. The music festival’s COVIDSafe plan has been advised by the Hemisphere Group and director and chief medical officer Dr Bill Anseline told PEDESTRIAN.TV there were more factors staff and attendees needed to take into consideration this year.

“The punters are more wary of the fact that COVID hasn’t gone away and now we have the complexities of Influenza A on top of that,” he said.

“I think the important part out the front area is, you’ve got people that are going to enjoy their time, a lot of them have had COVID but it doesn’t take away the risk of reinfection.”

So what’s changed and what do you need to know before you romp?

Festivals are required to follow public health orders of the state they’re in. For Splendour, that means there are no vaccination, testing or mask requirements to attend as a patron. But hey, you know the drill.

“COVID-19 is still circulating and as such we ask that all ticket holders evaluate their personal situation and risk in determining whether to attend the festival,” the music festival’s health policy reads.

“We urge you to use common sense and take personal responsibility for your health at Splendour.”

First of all, pack a mask, hand sanitiser and some RATs.

Most music festivals, including Splendour, will also have hand santiser stations around the site so keep on top of hygiene.

Most music festivals are also outdoors, which is good for airflow, but social distancing is still important.

Anseline said he hoped social distancing and mask-wearing would become commonplace.

He said every safety measure you can take as a patron mitigates the risk illness and he trusts anyone going to a music festival these days would be “proactive”.

“They want to see the show go on, they want to enjoy themselves, they’re not going down there to get sick.”

“It’s a risk that everyone takes but as long as it’s a measured and mindful mitigation of that risk, hopefully people will all look after each other.”

So what if you start to feel unwell?

“If there is someone who’s sick within your group or if you’re sick yourself, go to the medical centre,” Anseline said.

At Splendour it’s right near the main gate and there will be both doctors and paramedics to help treat your symptoms and make sure you can be COVIDSafe at the same time. FYI you must wear a mask in any medical tent.

If you can’t get there, speak to the nearest security guard who can make radio contact with the medical team, or call Splendour’s Patron Safety Hotline on 1300 940 928.

“This year they’ll have COVID testing and they’ll also have influenza testing. RATs on site are all part of the diagnostic side of things,” Anseline said.

But bring your own too, or you can pop straight into town for a free PCR test.

If it comes up positive, tell your friends because they might want to get tested too.

You’ll then have to follow the state guidelines on isolating, whether that means leaving the site and going home, going to medical facility or alternative accommodation.

In NSW there’s a Health Isolation Support Line you can contact 1800 943 553 or call Service NSW on 13 77 88 if you need help finding somewhere safe to stay.  

And remember there are hefty fines if you don’t isolate, so just do the right thing.

Image: Getty Images / Mark Metcalfe