Brighton Festival 2021 COVID-19 Public Safety FAQs 

This information applies to all participating venues and locations being used for Brighton Festival 2021 events. 

Information correct as of 26 March 2021, some information will be subject to change and will be updated and published on our website:

How is Brighton Festival able to go ahead safely in May?

Following the latest government guidance on when lockdown restrictions can be eased, some events or installations will take place in outdoor locations but will be managed with social distancing measures in place.

From 17 May, provided government guidelines allow, live indoor and outdoor performances will open for socially distanced audiences in Brighton Dome and with selected partner venues across the city and beyond.

Brighton Dome and its partner venues will host events with Covid-secure public safety measures in place.

Brighton Dome & Brighton Festival continues to receive guidance and advice from Brighton & Hove City Council and will adhere to any change in public safety guidelines.

How many events are happening?

Over 90 events will take place from 1 to 31 May 2021, online as digital work or livestreams, performances, exhibitions and installations across multiple outdoor and indoor locations stretching from Brighton to Worthing. 

Will people be allowed to attend events in large groups?

Brighton Festival doesn’t have any mass gathering events in the 2021 programme. 

Bookings can only be made in a maximum group of 4 people.

To maintain social distancing requirements, bookings may only be made by household groups and you will need to confirm this when you book with us. A household is people you currently live with. Single adult households are able to form a bubble with one other household which then counts as one household. The maximum number of people from a household who can book to attend together is currently 4 people. 

You can book in household groups of 1,2,3 or 4. All ticket holders in the group must be part of one household.

Are venue(s) running at a reduced capacity so social distancing is possible?

Yes. Brighton Dome Concert Hall is currently operating at under 20% capacity in order that we can give everyone plenty of space when arriving, moving around and sitting in the venue. Seating has been arranged to create free space or empty seats in front of, behind and between different households. 

External partner venues the Festival has hired are also running with reduced capacity, with our visitor safety as first priority.

What will visitors/audiences need to do to comply with safety measures?

To avoid queues at events, you will be sent your tickets electronically and you can either print these at home or show them on your mobile device. Tickets are required for admission and will be scanned on the entrance when you arrive.

Bring a mask and wear it when required indoors and sometimes outdoors.

Ticket bookers will be sent full instructions by email and/or text message prior to arriving at an event.

We would STRONGLY encourage you to use the QR code which links to the NHS Test and Trace mobile phone app. The test and trace QR code is visible as you arrive at the venue or location. Scanning the code will speed up entry to the event as alternatively we are required to take individual details from each member of the party.

Will I have to queue when I arrive at the building/location?

We are operating a timed entry system for our audiences to keep queues to a minimum. You will be emailed prior to the event to be told when we would like you to arrive at the venue. These timings are to help us to manage queuing outside and also to remove pressure from any of the other public areas before you take your seats.

Anyone who has access requirements and would prefer to arrive before queues build up can contact our access team to arrange this by emailing [javascript protected email address]

Will we be given a specific arrival time?

Events will start earlier than usual to give our audience time to enter the event space safely. You will be given a time to arrive in an email a few days prior to the event. These timings are to ensure that we can manage queuing and also remove pressure from any of the other arrival areas before the event starts.

Can I buy tickets at the venue?

All tickets must currently be bought in advance either on our website or via telephone (Tue–Fri 10am–2pm) 01273 709709.

You can buy a ticket online up to three hours prior to the start time. After this time, we will then be preparing your seats.

How should I travel to the venue?

Please walk or cycle if you can to be safe and look after the environment. Otherwise private transport is recommended, If you take public transport, please use your face covering as the law requires. Full details on our website.

Can I bring my bag to the venue?

We are asking our audience to kindly minimise all bags as this will slow down our entry procedures as these need to be checked by security. No bags larger than A3 are permitted into the venue and for reasons of Covid safety, there is no cloakroom operating.

How does Test and Trace work at the venue?

We strongly encourage you to download the NHS Test and Trace app In order that you may use the QR code on entry to ‘check into the venue’. The code is visible as you arrive at the venue. Using the QR code will speed up the processing of the queue and make the event safer for you and the staff assisting you so thank you in advance for doing this.

If you do not have the app, we can take names and phone numbers for all of the members of the party aged over 16 who have not used the QR code. The rules have changed so that it is now necessary to have details of all, not only the lead member of the party. At most of our Festival activity, we have to have Test and Trace details by law, so if you are unhappy to provide these details, unfortunately, you won’t be able to join us for the event at this time. Your details will be treated in confidence and only passed to a Test and Trace Representative where this is requested and not shared with anyone else. See the privacy policy on our website.

What health screening will happen before we are permitted to attend the event?

In addition to being in touch by email to remind customers not to attend with symptoms, Brighton Festival has installed thermal cameras just inside the entrance to the venue. You will be asked to stand in front of this for a second whilst your temperature is taken. Although not everyone with Covid-19 has a temperature, it is one way that we can lessen the chance that somebody who has the virus comes into the building. If you have a temperature your party will sadly not be able to attend the event that evening and you will be told how you will receive your ticket refund. 

Temperatures will not be taken at outdoor Festival events.

Will my child’s temperature be taken?

Although children are less susceptible they can get Covid-19 and usually have the same symptoms as adults. Unless they are tall enough to use the thermal camera and are wearing a mask, if we are taking temperatures we will take their temperature with a forehead thermometer when they arrive.

Why aren’t you requiring the audience to have had a vaccination prior to attending?

The UK Government are reviewing how to safely reopen large scale events without social distancing in place, which they hope to be the case from June 21st (after the Brighton Festival has ended). A certificate of vaccination is one option that they are considering in their review however this has significant ethical implications and would exclude a number of people from accessing our events, partly because of the status of the vaccination programme and partly because some people are not intending to or able to be vaccinated. We want Festival 2021 to be open to everyone in our community and are making plans to ensure that events are designed to keep our audience members safe, regardless of their vaccination status. The Festival will be as a minimum following all government advice to deliver our activity safely.

Wouldn’t it be safer if everyone attending had a Covid 19 test before attending?

The UK Government are running pilots currently to determine how to safely reopen large scale events without social distancing in place. They hope this may be the case from 21 June 2021 (after Brighton Festival has ended). A certificate to show either a vaccination or a recent negative test is being considered by the Government in their review. Covid-19 testing is not currently available from the UK Government to facilitate the public to access events and hospitality (although there are workplace, school and other schemes). Running a scheme on site to test the audience would be unfeasible for the Festival. 

Our staff will be participating in a testing programme through the Festival to further reduce risks to our team and audience.

Will I be required to wear a face covering at Festival events?

It is the law for everyone, unless they are legally exempt, to wear a face covering when indoors in a theatre or venue. You will need to wear your face covering throughout your visit including whilst in your seat for the duration of the performance. Whilst in your seat you may momentarily drop your face covering to enjoy your snack or drink. Please help us to keep the rest of the audience and our staff and artists safe, by co-operating with our Front of House staff about this. 

We are also encouraging our visitors to wear a face-covering at our ticketed activities outdoors as a further reassurance to others, particularly when there are queues or other busier sections to pass through. We are however designing the activities to allow for social distance to be maintained between household groups at all times. The law requires that face coverings are worn indoors in visitor attractions and at events and this will be enforced. By being outdoors the chances of aerosol transmission of Covid-19 are greatly reduced and we will not enforce the wearing of face-coverings. Our staff will be on hand to monitor visitors and offer any help we can.

What face-coverings are acceptable in the venue?

A face covering is something which safely covers the nose and mouth. They can be reusable or single-use face coverings. They must securely fit round the side of the face. For this reason, plastic visors do not replace face coverings. We would only accept a plastic visor in place of a face covering if the wearer is exempt from wearing a face covering. If you have any questions about exemptions please contact [javascript protected email address]

I am exempt from wearing a face covering, what will my experience of the event be?

We understand that some people cannot wear face coverings for reasons of health or disability and therefore they are legally exempt. To help our staff and audience members understand this, we have badges that you can request to wear that explain you are exempt if you would like to wear one. Please contact our access staff prior to attending the venue by emailing:  [javascript protected email address] to discuss this.

Will my child have to wear a face covering?

Children under the age of 11 are one of the categories of people who are legally exempt from wearing a face covering.

More details on face coverings is available here

Will the staff I meet be wearing a face covering?

Face coverings must by law be worn indoors by retail, leisure and hospitality staff working in areas that are open to the public and where they are likely to come into contact with a member of the public. If any of our staff are exempt they will be wearing a badge to this effect. Where staff are working behind perspex screens, face coverings are not compulsory.

If the show is cancelled by the venue due to Covid-19 reasons, will I get a refund?

If we are required by any change to national or local regulations to close, or if there is a reason the building cannot safely open owing to Covid-19, ticket holders will be refunded, unless the performance is rescheduled in which case options for refunds will be provided at the time.

Can I make a group or school booking?

To keep to social distancing requirements bookings may only be made by household groups and you will need to confirm this when you book with us. A household is people you currently live with. Single adult households are able to form a bubble with one other household which then counts as one household. The maximum number of people from a household who can book to attend together is currently 4 people. 

You can book in household groups of 1,2,3 or 4. All ticket holders in the group must be part of one household.

Why can’t I book tickets with my friends this year?

Brighton Festival is required to ensure that a minimum of 1m + social distance is maintained between people who are not members of the same household or bubble. We cannot socially distance parties in this way at our seated events and so only households and bubbles may book together. If friends book separately you can attend the same event but be socially distanced. You will not be able to meet up inside the venue as there is inadequate space for this.

If we had sold tickets to groups of friends for outdoor activity, the staff monitoring the crowd would be unable to know who within a group is part of the same household or bubble and therefore less able to influence social distancing in the way we are required to do.

The priority for the Festival this year is to ensure that we deliver these exciting opportunities to re-engage with the arts in the safest possible way.

Can I meet my friends at the venue who also have tickets to the show?

We are very short on space and request that you do not make arrangements to meet another household at a Festival event. In indoor settings, our staff will move you into your seats to keep our circulation spaces clear. The legal restrictions on meeting people will still apply during Brighton Festival.

What social distancing is expected of the audience?

Please follow our signage and co-operate with our staff by maintaining 2 metres distance wherever possible to do so but a minimum of 1 metre otherwise. Queue markers are laid out to encourage 1m minimum.

Please do not move the chairs or bench seating areas as these are arranged to ensure that minimum distances are maintained and that gangways are adequate for staff and audience to move around safely.

Please follow any one way systems and listen to the directions of the stewards when moving around the spaces at outdoor events.

How will you be helping the audience to keep socially distanced from other households?

Limited overall venue capacity.

Socially distanced seating layouts. At indoor events these seats are reserved and pre-booked. Swapping of seats is not permitted and rows or seats out of use are marked as such.

Reduced capacity and adjustments within toilets and when queuing for the toilet.

One-way systems may be operated where possible.

Social distancing markers.

Signage and staff to remind everyone what is required.

Staggered arrivals to encourage those seated in the middle of rows to take their seats first.

Staff to invite people at the back to leave before those at the front.

Pre-ordering and in seat bar service where a bar is available.

If I need to use the bathroom or go out of the auditorium during the show, how can I do this safely?

We will be trying to limit the audience passing one another by inviting our audience to arrive and leave in order, so that people seated in the centre of rows do not have to pass those at the ends wherever possible. However, if you need to come out during the performance please face away from those you are passing, and of course ensure that you are wearing your face covering.

Are staff going to be helping to maintain social distancing measures and face covering policies?

Our staff have all received training in the Covid secure risk assessment established for our events and will be on hand to help people to remember and abide by the rules that exist to keep us all safe whilst enjoying the event. If you have a concern about a member of the audience, please ask to speak to the Duty Manager so that we can investigate and address this. There are more of us on duty to help with Covid safety mitigations.

How do the rules apply to children?

Under 11’s are exempt from wearing face coverings, if they do not wish to. Children attending with their household must socially distance from people outside of their household. Grown ups are to supervise their children at all times as it can be harder for them to remember and follow the safety rules. Please also help children to practice the good hygiene rules we all need to remember, including washing or sanitising their hands frequently, using a tissue or the crook of their arm to catch sneezes and coughs and avoiding touching surfaces if this is not necessary.

Can I dance or sing along?

It’s really important that we stick to the requirements set by the government during this time. This includes not shouting and singing along, because it increases the amount of aerosols created by the audience. We hope you will show your appreciation by clapping enthusiastically!Dancing is also not permitted by Brighton Festival at the moment. Time for some in seat dancing!

Are there plenty of opportunities to sanitise my hands?

You will find hand sanitiser dispensers on all entrances to our events, around the spaces in key locations and in the toilets. Please ensure you sanitise your hands as you enter the spaces, and as you enter the toilets.

Everyone is also reminded to wash their hands for at least 20 seconds with liquid soap and water and to dry their hands afterwards when using the toilets.

What are the cleaning arrangements at the venue(s)?

All seats, benches and toilets are cleaned between shows.

We are also cleaning throughout opening hours to ensure that the high touch points around the spaces continue to be cleaned whilst the audience are present, including those in the toilets.

How often are the toilets cleaned?

The toilets are cleaned prior to the audience arriving and once the show has started. Our cleaning team are on site throughout the performance to keep high touch points clean.

What is the ventilation like inside the venue(s)?

At Brighton Dome Concert Hall the building has a high ceiling and plenty of natural ventilation in the foyer spaces and benefits from a mechanical ventilation system inside the auditorium which draws fresh air in and extracts stale air throughout the performance. 

Our ventilation system is capable of managing audiences of 1800 people and we are operating at less than 20% of that. Ventilation is a key consideration when planning events at spaces other than Brighton Dome Concert Hall. Spaces will be well ventilated before and inbetween shows. Where possible doors and windows will also remain open throughout performances. Whilst we hope that this will cause as little disturbance as possible there maybe a little more external noise than usual. Artists will use microphones to ensure the sound quality is good. 

Can I leave the venue once I have arrived?

Yes, however we kindly request that the audience try not to do so as this will require us to repeat the entry procedures and for our staff to have to meet you twice when this is potentially avoidable.

As much as possible, please remain in your seats once you have arrived and leave directly when requested to do so by a steward at the end of the performance.

How is the exit managed?

Stewards will exit the spaces in a given order to aid social distancing. Please make your way from the venue straight away to avoid any crowding outside the venue.

What if I have specific access requirements? Are any of the Covid secure mitigations you are taking, not going to work for me?

We have hand held temperature checking devices for wheelchair users.

If you are attending with someone who is not able to be treated as part of your household, please tell the Ticket Office so that we can allocate you a seat a little further away. If your household group attending is bigger, some of them will need to be seated elsewhere, as near as we can get you.

Wheelchair users in the fully seated format will be seated in the same way that we usually do.

If you lip read, we are offering badges which explain this and our staff will have badges that welcome you to tell them if you are a lip reader, in order that they can temporarily drop their mask to assist you.

If you require the lift to access the circle at the Brighton Dome Concert Hall, we would ask that you contact us ahead so we can be aware of this and plan the best possible time and arrival process for you. If you wish to come to the venue early to avoid a queue, or you want to come to see the venue earlier in the day or on another day to understand how things are going to work we will be delighted to help. Please contact [javascript protected email address]

Is the bar open?

Where food and drink is available this will be promoted in the pre-show email you will receive in advance of the event. Our event staff will also be able to find out for you, please contact [javascript protected email address]

Where we are offering a bar, to minimise queuing and physical contact we are either providing an in-seat ordering and seat delivery service or socially distanced counter service. In person bar sales will not be available during the show. You must be seated when drinking alcohol.

Will there be an interval?

This will depend on the performance and information will be available from the email you receive prior to the event or by contacting the ticket office: [javascript protected email address]

Owing to our risk assessment and the potential for overcrowding, events currently have no intervals and the audience are in that case welcome to leave and return to their seats for the toilet if they need to. We encourage you please to remain in your seats as much as possible during the event.

Can I use cash at the venue?

We are unable to accept cash payments at this time and will be offering contactless payment options when our bars and ticket office re-open.

Can latecomers be admitted?

We will accept latecomers however we may need to seat you at the back of the space or may wait for an appropriate break so that we can get you safely seated. At promenade events we may be able to add you to the next entry time but this is not guaranteed. 

Will I be able to use the lift at Brighton Dome?

The lift is operating, however this is for single households only and we do encourage those who are less mobile to sit downstairs where it is possible. We are cleaning the lift buttons regularly throughout the day and performance but please use the hand sanitiser provided by the entrance to the lift on the ground and circle levels before entering the lift.

Those who require the lift can contact our access line prior to attending to make arrangements to be helped with this process, as there are one way and social distancing measures that need to be followed. Contact: [javascript protected email address]

When can I get a refund if me or my household is affected by Covid-19?

You live with someone who has tested positive for Covid-19.

You have symptoms.

You live with someone who has symptoms.

You have been told to self isolate by the NHS Test and Trace App or a Test and Trace agent.

You are required to quarantine because you have arrived from a country with a high coronavirus risk.

You are able to contact us to request a refund up until 3 hours before the performance. We do request that you please consider whether you need to request a refund or would be happy to accept a ticket voucher for a future performance or can afford to donate the price of your tickets to the venue instead. Every ticket purchased helps to secure the continuation of the venue and the artists appearing beyond the pandemic. If you do need to request one, please do so as early as possible so that we are able to try to resell your tickets to someone else. Most of all though, please don’t come if you should be isolating as it places everyone at the venue at potential risk.

What should I do if I feel unwell during the event?

Please do not travel to the venue if you are showing any Covid-19 symptoms. If you become unwell with a temperature, new continuous cough or a loss or change in taste and smell during the event, please highlight this to a member of our FOH staff in the foyer immediately.