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‘Even in the realms of extreme, it’s extreme’: how UK music festivals are planning for

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Wellies and sun hats are the traditional first guard against the elements at festivals, but this summer they may not be enough to protect revellers. Flood defences, wildfire response teams and satellite weather-monitoring technology are among the ways UK music festivals are adapting to extreme weather events fuelled by the climate crisis.

Last summer’s record high temperatures in the UK hit during festival season, and the changing climate has become one of the industry’s biggest challenges, increasing the frequency, severity and likelihood of weather such as heatwaves and thunderstorms. With preparations underway for this year’s festival season, event organisers are increasing their contingency plans to secure their events, at a time of higher costs in labour, energy and insurance.

Standon Calling, a 17,000-capacity festival in Hertfordshire, has felt the force of extreme weather in recent years. In 2021, the team were preparing for a dry weekend and performances by Primal Scream and Craig David. “Forecasts weren’t suggesting we were going to get freak weather,” recalls…

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