The first difference and addition to the usual festival packing was a Covid-19 Rapid Antigen self-test kit.
Squeezing this into my already packed backpack was a requirement for those who had not yet had their full course of the Covid vaccine.
On entrance to Latitude festival, everyone was required to show either a negative Covid test, taken before leaving for the festival, proof of a full course of the Covid vaccine or proof of natural immunity.
Taking the test at home with a self-test kit at 5 am on the day of the festival was an essential part of my weekend.
Those who had their full course of the vaccine needed to prove this on entrance to the festival, either through the NHS app, a letter or PDF document.
If this was the case they did not need to prove a negative test on arrival.
Another addition to the packing list was the copious amount of anti-bacterial hand gel and Dettol wipes, but these are always needed at a festival regardless.
One signature look we’ve rocked for the past year that didn’t make the packing list, was a face covering.
These were not needed at any time during the festival, an added bonus to the restrictions that we said goodbye to on Freedom Day.
On arrival at the festival, everything ran smoothly. Announcements were made regularly on a tannoy, reminding people to get their proof of a negative Covid test, a full course of the Covid vaccination or natural immunity documents ready to be checked.
For anyone who tested positive before leaving for the festival would not be allowed in and would get a full refund of their ticket.
Self-test kits were given out before the entrance for those who may have forgotten to take a test and to use during the festival.
Another new requirement for the festival was to test yourself for Covid every 48hours, for those who had not had the full course of their Covid vaccinations.
These results were then asked to be uploaded on the Government website and for those who tested positive to make their way to the medical tent immediately.
Once checked in with festival bands secured on the wrist everything felt just as it had done before.
Tents were pitched up across the multiple fields, squeezing into spaces, making friends with your new neighbours after borrowing their electric pump without the overwhelming need to wipe it down with a Dettol wipe after use.
It felt safe. After the entrance requirements the worry that Covid could be lurking was diminished with the focus on having a fun, packed, music weekend.
Strangers faces were a very welcomed exposure, finally being able to see peoples emotions without being hidden behind a mask.
Social distancing was abolished, there was no need to skirt around people or to take an awkward sidestep as someone becomes a little closer than you’d prefer.
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The no need for face coverings or social distancing was a triumph of freedom and excitement all rolled into one.
Heading to music stages, food stalls and pop up shops everything was just as I remembered a festival to be like.
Queues formed for food, crowds gathered close to watch the headliner on the main stage and toilets were well festival toilets.
However, an added feature to festivals that have been introduced post-Covid, are cleaner toilets and more anti-bacterial hand stations.
I’ve been to a fair few festivals before and the toilets have always been tough participation during a festival, along with the empty soap stations that seem to never stay full.
But a festival post covid seemed to bring the little hygienic nudge festivals needed.
More toilet cleaners filling up the communal toilet roll and anti-bacterial hand gel stations and cleaning the portable toilets on what seemed like a more regular basis.
Staff were on hand to help guide you to a stage you couldn’t seem to find, face painting was offered for the younger one’s and music blared from every direction as you try to decide where to head next.
Another addition to the festival was an NHS vaccination bus, offering anyone who would like to get their Covid jab over the weekend the opportunity to do so.
Cashless payments were used across the entire weekend on all purchases, no cash insight, which is another bonus, erasing the worry of losing notes or cash during the weekend.
Further antibacterial gel stations were also introduced throughout the festival at different locations for anyone to use when passing.
Overall the festival felt safe, clean and comfortable. It felt as a festival should, busy, buzzing and blissful sense of freedom we’ve all craved and missed.
It felt normal, as a festival should, with crowds gathering, mosh pits creating and people singing at the top of their lungs as we dance along to a well-known song.
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