Cornwall, U.K. music festival Boardmasters may be linked to almost 5,000 COVID-19 cases, according to health officials.
Reports indicate that 4,700 people with positive test results attended the August 11th-15th festival, or were in contact with people who did. About three-quarters of those cases are aged 16-21. Eight hundred of those cases live in the county of Cornwall.
Festivalgoers 11 and over were required to show proof of vaccination through the National Health System (NHS) COVID-19 app before entry. Anyone camping was asked to do a lateral flow test (a self-administered COVID-19 test distributed for free by the NHS) during the event and report their results. Masks were encouraged but not required.
Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly have been the center of a major spike, with COVID-19 cases more than doubling in a week. In the seven days leading up to and including August 21st (six days after the festival’s end), 804 cases per 100,000 have been reported, up from 386 cases the previous week.
Rachel Wigglesworth, director of public health for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, stated, “our advice to residents, visitors, and anyone who attended Boardmasters also remains the same – if you have COVID-19 symptoms then isolate immediately and book a PCR test. If you have no symptoms, please continue to test twice a week with rapid lateral flow tests, which are available for free from pharmacies or can be delivered to your home.”
The yearly festival takes place in the town of Newquay. Beginning in 1981 as a surf and skate competition, the event expanded to include music in 2005. It currently has a capacity of 53,000.