We’re so looking forward to seeing you this weekend for ALSO’s first-ever socially-distanced, digitally-blended festival. It has been five weeks since we were given the go-ahead and since then we've tried to communicate a mix of excitement and safety in our emails to you, but with four days to go - this one is the big read....are you sitting comfortably? Let's go.
We've had to incorporate many, many changes in order to be able to create a socially distanced festival. This email we hope will give you an overview of what to expect when you arrive and whilst spending your weekend with us. We want you to have the best time possible and so want you to have a head start on how outdoor experiences like the one we're doing together this weekend can work in the time of Covid-19. By the end of the weekend, we hope you have truly benefited from the ALSO experience.
To clarify from the beginning, all of the COVID-related protocols we have in place on-site have been approved by the NHS, the local authorities and councils, the environmental health agency and the fire and police departments - many things are obviously not the way any of us would choose to do them, but the way the advisory agencies and us have agreed they will be done to keep us all safe. As you know, we are keeping numbers low and operating at 30% of our site’s capacity and have a programme to match. This means there is so much space for camping, playing and relaxing and resetting after a very unusual six months, and a time to enjoy the end of the summer, as we offer you a place in the country.
In terms of digital blending, this simply means providing some of the festival content online for those who unfortunately cannot join us this year, and that those who are shielding or not well, in particular, can still see some of our content.
Before Your Arrival:
We have sent you an email asking you to register your details - please do so if you haven’t already as this will help speed up your check-in procedure. We will also use this info to register your details so Track and Trace can be carried out. The govt regulations say we need to keep it for 21 days, after which it will be wiped from our system. So, to reiterate, please do register your Track and Trace details in advance not only to help speed up your check-in process but also because we are a tiny team operating at very high standards in a global pandemic. A word to the wise anyone you know who needs an ALSO ticket - Thurs this week is likely to be the cut off for any further ticket sales.
It also makes sense to read our blog and watch our Ask Us Anything video to understand how it is going to work. It really is the year to get to grips with how it works before you arrive.
If you are driving to the festival and in some ways, this is year is the year to do it - as we're allowing those with car passes to drive on to the site and to be able to park near their tents (and those without a car pass - the free car park isn't far away) - our thinking is there's nothing we can do about the weather so this is the year to bring all those home comforts so your weekend can be as luxurious and cosy as possible. Suggestions include blankets, torches, socks for swimming, warm coats, wetsuits, glittery warm clothes for Sat night, hats, umbrellas, parasols, gazebos, chairs, a can-do attitude, LED lights, a determination to leave with a couple of books, a container for water, very little one-use plastic. The joy of ALSO is some ways is that we are in a totally wild site so please think through what that means for you in terms of creature comforts you will need. Those coming by train - we know - you're doing your bit to save the planet - please wear what you can and bring what you can manage.
This will take a little longer than usual, however, it should be stress-free and easy to navigate. Depending on the entrance being used, festival-goers will wait in their cars as they get temperature checked. Unfortunately, if anyone in the party has a temperature in excess of 37.8C, the entire party will have to leave the site.
When you arrive, please stay in your car and follow parking instructions from an Also Festival volunteer (please be superhumanly nice to our wonderful volunteers). One member of your party will then (using a mask and practising socially distanced queuing) be asked to get out of the car and go to the check-in desk to pick up their entire party's wrist bands and festival pack (all prepared 72h prior to the festival day, which is a government regulation). If you're using the Production entrance, everyone should stay in the car and an ALSO staff member will distribute the packs to each car following the temperature check.
We ask that everyone staying for the weekend arrives on-site by 9.30pm on Friday. The Also Festival programme starts at 6pm Friday and then we're open until 8pm on the Sunday night. If you want to stay over on the Sunday night, please email email@example.com. This will be at the festival's discretion and has to be at your own risk.
With over 50 acres of land, you can choose where to camp. We just ask that, as per current government regulation regarding bubbles, only two households camp together and all bubbles keep a good 10m distance from other bubbles.
If you have a car parking pass or a campervan pass - you are allowed to drive on-site and park next to where you camp. If you have not purchased a car parking pass, there is free parking available at the festival's main entrance on the top of the hill.
If you are booked into one of our lovely glamps and arrive before 5pm, you can drive over and unload your belongings but you must then drive back and park up for the weekend.
The Festival Itself:
Our main approaches to combating the risks presented by Covid-19 will be through supporting and maintaining social distancing and appropriate hygiene routines and practices, so -
- Hand sanitisers will be available at all facilities and throughout the site.
- It's masks on anywhere on-site you may have to queue, for example, toilets, bar, bookshop and food stalls.
- Our facilities will be thoroughly cleaned throughout the weekend.
- This year, all workshops and bookable events have to be pre-booked and have limited spaces to allow for social distancing. Always worth talking nicely to our lovely volunteers at INFO to see if more spaces are available for paid events. For the free events, spaces may become available. Please wait at the tent and again one of our volunteers will advise if there is room to add more people safely.
- Please treat our Info Tent volunteers like a hotel concierge you somehow really want to impress.
- All payments on-site will be contactless.
- We have to ask guests not following the government guidelines relating to social distancing whilst on-site will be asked to leave. We don't want that though so please social distance to the max.
Food has always played a central role at ALSO and it is, of course, one of the most social aspects of our lives. Your pre-ordered hampers can be picked up from the ALSO Deli - which will also sell deli items for picnicking. There are food concessions, coffee and a bar (remember the masking and social distancing rules when getting your fill) and we recommend bringing food for small children if you have any.
We have communal loos across the site and will have dedicated cleaners throughout the festival. If you've hired a private portaloo, it will be on-site ready for your arrival. Our Hippy Heights Hotel has dedicated loos near to the bell tents.
Our wild swimming sessions take place between 2-4 pm on both Saturday and Sunday with lifeguards and at no other time. If you’re planning to swim in our gorgeous lake - and we really recommend it - please bring something to protect your feet, e.g. thick socks, and a towel and something warm to put on afterwards as it is a little cold.
For any questions not answered here, please take a look at our FAQs. Want more? Here's further information on measures we are taking, please see our COVID-19 Guidelines and Policy statement.
And finally, thank you so much for reading this - as you can see we are taking COVID-19 very seriously - but so much of it depends on you, if we all do our best to keep all of us safe, we can all have a wonderful time. We love to be together with people - we've worked as hard as we humanly could in an almost impossible and constantly changing situation to make ALSO20 enjoyable for you - here's to doing it together safely and socially, kindly and calmly, because as we all know deep down - the show must go on.