Belgium's Pukkelpop festival has been cancelled this year due to not being able to meet COVID-19 testing demands.
The festival, which takes place near Hasselt in Belgium, was due to return next month, and organisers had planned "for a capacity of up to 7,000 tests per day at the Pukkelpop site" to allow fans to attend the festival during the pandemic.
In a statement shared on socials and the festival's site this morning (23 July), organisers wrote, "Last Monday it became clear that the current framework has made it impossible for us to organise Pukkelpop. The additional demands in terms of testing would require us to almost triple the testing capacity at and in the run-up to the festival."
"The government finds itself in an unenviable position and so do we," the statement continued. "Originally a negative PCR test carried out within 72 hours of arrival was enough but on Monday this was reduced to 48 hours. In addition, a negative antigen test was no longer sufficient for fans to be admitted to the festival. Since Thursday antigen testing is allowed again but the initial validity of 48 hours has been reduced to 24 hours."
Organisers also wrote, "Initially we planned for a capacity of up to 7,000 tests per day at the Pukkelpop site but the 24/48 hour limit for the validity of, respectively, a rapid antigen test (RAT) or a PCR test means that we would have to triple this capacity. To put things into perspective: this is 21 times the capacity of the Park Spoor Noord testing village in Antwerp at the height of its activities. The 24/48 hour limit effectively means tripling the number of tests but there is no way we could guarantee the government we can organise this under safe circumstances. This is simple math and a healthy dose of common sense."
The statement also saw organisers write that "the vaccination rate within our target demographic is not as we had hoped", and they added that "daily testing of so many youngsters is simply not feasible."
"We deeply regret the fact that the authorities made this decision just one month before the start of the festival but the Covid measures were always going to be subject to the latest developments," the statement continued. "As a result, Pukkelpop 2021 can no longer take place as planned."