Electronic music festival Verknipt successfully held their 2021 festivities in the Dutch city of Utrecht earlier this July, with over 20,000 fans attending the two-day event. Despite entries requiring a QR code that served as proof of COVID-19 vaccination or a lack of symptoms, CNBC reports that over 1,000 attendees have tested positive for the virus since the event.
Lennart van Trigt, spokesperson for the Utrecht regional health board, gave the following comment: “We cannot say that all these people were infected at the festival itself; it could also be possible that they’ve been infected while traveling to the festival or in the evening before going to the festival or having an after-party. So they’re all linked to the festival but we can’t 100% say they were infected at the festival.”
Issues were raised with the festival’s entry process, which allowed attendees to complete COVID tests up to 40 hours before the event. Van Trigt cited this policy as a potential problem, saying the period was “too long” and that they “should have had a 24-hour [period], that would be a lot better because in 40 hours people can do a lot of things like visiting friends and going to bars and clubs. So in a period of 24 hours people can do less things and it’s safer.”
Another potential reason for the mass infection lies with the fact that the attendees were able to get a COVID pass for the festival immediately after receiving the vaccine, instead of waiting the requisite weeks for it to take full effect. Several important figures, including the Dutch prime minister and and Utrecht’s mayor, have apologized for the lack of foresight that led to this 1-in-20 infection rate.
“We were a bit too trigger happy,” said van Trigt.