Festivals to return to Bristol with 60,000 expected over three days

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Tens of thousands of festival goers will be in Bristol for two events this weekend as live music and entertainment make a long-awaited return to the city.

The Downs Festival will take place on the Clifton Downs on September 3 and will feature the homecoming show for Bristol band Idles.

On September 4 and 5, Love Saves The Day will take place on the same site, presenting an opportunity for festival-goers, artists, and traders to enjoy the festivities.

The space has the capacity for 30,000 each day but will only be open to 20,000 each day due to coronavirus.

Tom Paine, the founder of Team Love which is running both events, is delighted to be able to put on the events following a two-year absence.

He said: "It’s taken a couple of days certainly to get our heads around the fact that we are here again and we’ve managed to build the stages and everyone’s here, everyone’s working and I’m excited.

"It’s been a really long 18 months, in fact our last major event was 24 months ago on this very site.

An aerial view of Clifton Downs which will host both festivals Credit: ITV West Country

"We’ve kept our capacity down, we’re going to try and be around 20,000 people on this site which can hold 30,000 people.

"The idea with the space is people can choose how comfortable they are in or out of crowds – if they want to stay out of crowds they’ll still be able to see the acts and stand in front of the stages.

"We’ve taken every precaution but the reality is, for the industry and for people’s joy, culture, and creativity, the festivals need to be running."

Love Saves the Day usually happens in May but has teamed up with tonight's Downs Festival to ensure survival this year.

Traders like Rory Perriment hope the festivals will provide some much-needed business and is looking to shift 1,600 burgers in the next three days.

Traders like Rory Perriment are delighted to see the return of festivals as it brings much-needed custom to businesses Credit: ITV West Country

He said: "It’s a real symbol of our freedom and the way that things should be.

"It’s been fantastic getting back out there and it’s felt the most normal that things have felt in such a long time."

Bristol's Covid rates still high and safety measures have been put in place here by the 2,000 staff on site.

Everyone must produce a negative lateral flow test, prove immunity or be double vaccinated to get through the gates, and stewards manager Xenie Sims is comforted by the extra measures.

She said: "A lot of people still have those reservations. It’s the first time they’ve been in a big crowds or been out with a lot of people but they’re taking every single step.

There will be mobile testing units and everyone must produce a negative lateral flow test, prove immunity or be double vaccinated Credit: ITV West Country

"They’re making sure they offer anti-bac everywhere you go, there’s a lot of spacing and even the lanes are wider so it’s really reassuring."

Bristol City Council are urging people to be sensible when at mass gathering events.

A spokesperson said: "As with all big events in the city, we’ve worked closely with the organisers to ensure they are taking all reasonable steps and are following the latest Covid-19 guidance.

"We’ve all worked hard and sacrificed a lot to be able to attend events such as this. We would encourage everyone to have fun but to do so responsibly and respectfully.

"Our case rates still remain high so it’s important we all continue with key behaviours, such as encouraging wearing a face covering indoors and making space, to protect ourselves and others.

"Before attending the event, we would advise people to take a lateral flow (rapid) test and if you have any Covid symptoms or have tested positive we urge you to stay home and self-isolate to keep the event safe for others."