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Danish festival to allow smoking despite dry conditions

The Smukfest festival, which is located in a beech forest near Danish town Skanderborg, is to allow smoking when it takes place in August.

Danish festival to allow smoking despite dry conditions
Guests at Smukfest in 2017. Photo: Sarah Christine Nørgaard/Ritzau Scanpix

The event will thereby not be following the example of the Swedish festival Visfestival Holmöns, which banned smoking due to dry conditions.

Sweden is one of a number of European countries to have seen devastating wildfires this summer following droughts across the continent.

But Smukfest is to instead focus on preventative measures against fires, head of safety Thomas Rydahl said.

“We are extremely focused on the drought but we have chosen a different option to a (smoking) ban,” Ryhdahl said.

The Skanderborg festival takes place from August 8th-12th.

“We have a lot of preventative measures with a very high number of ashtrays and we will be communicating with our guests,” Rydahl said.

The ashtrays will consist of buckets of sand and water to immediately extinguish cigarette butts while staff will be instructed as to the heightened importance of fire safety, Ritzau reports.

“Last year mud was the problem, now it’s the drought,” Rydahl said.

Swedish broadcaster SVT has reported that the Visfestival Holmöns will ban smoking entirely on its festival site.

Extra fire extinguishment equipment and volunteer firefighters will also be present.

Although there will be no smoking ban at Smukfest, a number of other rules will be introduced due to to the dry conditions, Rydahl said.

Bonfire and barbecue areas usually provided by the festival will not be available this year, he said.

The head of security also said that enforcing a no-smoking rule would not be easy under the circumstances.

“We are inclined to believe that we, through the friendly atmosphere, can alert our guests to the seriousness of the situation,” he said.

This year’s Smukfest is the 39th edition of the festival at the Bøgeskoven forest near Skanderborg. Britney Spears is the headline act at this year’s event.

READ ALSO: Subterranean wildfire rages in Denmark

FESTIVAL

Denmark’s summer music festival hopes fade

The possibility of large-scale music festivals taking place in Denmark this summer has been described as “unrealistic” following the publication of expert recommendations for coronavirus-safe events.

Denmark’s summer music festival hopes fade
The Roskilde Festival during the glorious summer of 2018. Photo: Sofie Mathiassen/Ritzau Scanpix

Music events such as the Roskilde Festival, the largest of its kind in northern Europe, would not be able to take place as normal and must be without overnight guests under the recommendations, submitted in report form by an expert advisory group to the government on Friday.

The group, appointed as part of the national reopening plan, was tasked with looking at how festivals and other large events can take place this summer.

The recommendations will provide the basis political discussions which will form an agreement over large events which will be integrated into the reopening plan.

READ ALSO: Denmark enters new phase of reopening plan: Here’s what changed on April 21st

Seven various scenarios, including one for outdoors, standing events, were considered by the expert group in forming its recommendations. Two phases have been set down for eased restrictions on large events, which are currently banned due to the public assembly limit.

In the final phase of the restrictions towards the end of the summer, a maximum of 10,000 people would be permitted to attend an event. All attendees would be required to present a valid corona passport, and audiences would be split into sections of 2,000.

Although that could provide a framework for some events to take place, Roskilde Festival, which normally has a total of around 130,000 guests and volunteers including sprawling camping areas, appears to be impossible in anything resembling its usual format.

The festival was also cancelled in 2020.

Roskilde Festival CEO Signe Lopdrup, who was part of the expert group, said the festival was unlikely to go ahead should it be required to follow the recommendations.

“Based on the recommendations, we find it very difficult to believe it is realistic to organise festivals in Denmark before the end of the summer,” Lopdrup said in a written comment to broadcaster DR.

The restrictions would mean “that it is not possible to go ahead with the Roskilde Festival. That’s completely unbearable. But that’s where we’ve ended,” she added.

The news is potentially less bleak for other types of event with fewer participants, with cultural and sporting events as well as conferences also included in the recommendations submitted by the group.

Parliament has previously approved a compensation scheme for major events forced to cancel due to coronavirus measures this summer.

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