Buckinghamshire Disability Service (BuDS) regrets to announce that it will not be present at, or supporting, the Parklife Festival in Aylesbury on 28 and 29 August. Our own Covid impact assessment for this event shows that the Parklife event would lead to hundreds of people becoming infected with Covid and, as a disability charity, we could not in any circumstances support an event which credibly might lead to hundreds more people becoming ill or disabled. BuDS has formally asked the event organisers to cancel their event in the interests of public health, but they have declined to do so. The BuDS impact assessment can be read here: https://buds.org.uk/parklife-festival-covid-19-impact-assessment/
BuDS very strongly recommends that people do not attend the Parklife event, which we believe will be a ‘super-spreader’ of Covid-19. There are no compulsory Covid precautions in place at the event – visitors will not be tested or have to be vaccinated, and facemasks and social distancing are optional. The event organiser is predicting a larger than usual attendance, meaning that up to 20,000 people could be gathering in one small park. These are ideal circumstances for the airborne Delta variant of Covid-19 to spread by close contact between people. Evidence from other similar events, such as the Boardmasters Festival in Cornwall, is that thousands of people have become infected with Covid and BuDS expects mass infections to occur at Parklife too.
BuDS has supported disabled guests at Parklife for many years, including providing a quiet area for autistic people, accessible games and activities, a wheelchair viewing area and supervising the accessible parking. Together with the enthusiastic and committed support of the event organiser, Parklife has been one of the most disabled accessible and inclusive events in the UK. BuDS looks forward to working with the event organiser in future years to keep up this standard of accessibility and inclusion. However, during the Covid-19 pandemic, we strongly recommend that older, clinically vulnerable and disabled people (and their families and friends) do not go to Parklife. The risk of bringing Covid home from Vale Park is very high.
BuDS also calls on businesses, organisations, charities and others who are thinking of having stalls or displays at Parklife to reconsider. It should be no part of any business or organisation’s purpose or branding to participate in a super-spreader event which will lead to more people catching Covid-19 and being ill, including their own staff and volunteers.
The pandemic has restricted the lives of everyone, disabled people more than most. We understand that some people would like to be able to behave like the pandemic is over. But Covid is not over yet, and people must still be Covid-Careful until community infections reduce to a safer level.