With just days to go until London’s 51st State Festival takes place, four acts have to pull out of the event – but with no explanation as to why…

Earlier today, 51st State Festival announced that Dimitri From Paris, Anane Vega, Charly Black and Keith Thompson would not now be making an appearance at the event this weekend. Instead, festival goers are promised an appearance from an unannounced guest. The mind boggles…

What hasn’t been mentioned is why they’re no longer able to appear. Well, according to a source close to the festival, it’s due to current quarantine requirements. As from Monday, rules stipulated that fully vaccinated travellers from the USA do not need to quarantine upon arrival in any part of the UK.

I understand that a number of American DJs and such who are due to perform arranged their flights a while ago, and as such arrived before the rule change – several of them are now self-isolating in hotels ahead of their gigs. Indeed, Louie Vega – who arrived on these shores on Sunday – referenced this on Instagram.

So, are any of these four anti-vaxxers? Well, one of them definitely is – Anané Vega, wife of the aforementioned Louie. Her personal Facebook page is filled with posts such as this…

Curiously, I note none of the posts whom I looked up featured a like or any words of support from her husband. I can’t possibly think why…

Try not to U-turn just after this blog goes to print this time! 51st State are the latest to announce cashless wristbands – but why ARE festivals so keen to push this right now?

I’d better get this one written up and published as quickly as possible. 51st State Festival have a bit of a habit of changing their minds, as demonstrated on Thursday. It seems they’ve decided in their wisdom that they don’t want your money anymore. Or more specifically, they don’t want your Covid-ridden cash.

Well, that’s the narrative that 51st State Festival – and to be fair, other festivals such as Defected Croatia – are going with. They’re claiming that these cashless wristbands are easier, quicker and safer. You have to set up an account, load it up with money from your bank account and you get a QR code sent to you – and just collect your wristband after you pass security.

Simple? For a generation used to contactless payments with either a phone or debit card, quite possibly. They’re a lot like prepaid credit cards which you can give children. But why have the festivals started promoting these so heavily, and why now? And can we expect to see more festivals doing this in the future?

Let’s answer the second question first. Quite simply, yes. A source who’s worked for many festivals over the years tells me “Cash and festivals were always a pain in the arse. Most festivals take place on weekends, so there’s no easy access to change – and even on weekdays, it depends on having a bank anywhere nearby. Running out of charge towards the end of the day was always a problem. Luckily, most festival goers didn’t give a s***”.

As for the first question, Covid isn’t particularly the reason. It was something the festivals were going to look at eventually, but the knowledge that nightclubs and other mass gatherings are going to get the blame if another big wave of Covid-19 occurs has helped concentrate the mind.

It is, like so many other things, about money. Cash is easy for those spending it, not so easy for those receiving it. All that money has to be separated out into £20 notes, £10 notes and so on all the way down to 1p. That money must be counted, verified, bagged up according to the requirements of the banks and then physically taken to the bank.

When large amounts of physical cash are involved, the time and costs mount up. Whereas this? It couldn’t be easier for the festivals! All the money is in their bank account already – they know what’s having money spent on it in real time. No more trips to the bank with huge bundles of notes and the security risks it brings, no more staff rifling through tills for change!

And if you don’t spend all the money on the wristband? Well, their site says “You can claim back any unused funds online up to the value of £100 per wristband… Cashout will open at 10am on Monday 9th August and close 10pm Thursday 13th August 2021”.

Casting aside their muddle of whether they meant to write that it closes at “10pm Thursday 12th August” or “10pm Friday 13th August”, does that mean anyone who forgets to claim their unspent money back basically forfeits it to 51st State’s bank account? You bet it does!

I don’t blame the festivals for trying to think of ways to save money after the horrendous time they’ve had in the past 16 months. But I do wonder if suddenly putting this requirement on people just days before festivals take place – when they were asked to purchase tickets many months ahead of time – is the best way of keeping goodwill from a public that’s also hard-pressed.

I think I’ll leave the final word to the cheeky rascal who replied to their Facebook thread saying “Will you be able to buy drugs with the cashless wristband?”…

The Saturday Recap will be published at midday today.

51st State Festival caves in to the anti-vaxxer brigade and declares tests to enter the venue optional – but was a rebellion by pampered, egotistical DJs behind the decision?

The news cycle moves quickly sometimes. Late last night, I wrote an article about Hannah Wants and whether she would have a response about the news that 51st State Festival had made it mandatory to show proof of vaccine, a negative test or proof of recent infection in order to gain entry.

It was published this morning. Not long after it appeared, 51st State backtracked. It will now be optional. In accordance with the guidelines the government has laid down for England, doing a test before entry will be encouraged, but not essential. Cue another victory for the anti-vaxxers out there.

The question, however, of why they seem to have had a change of heart remains a mystery. Allow me to shed some light on the situation. An insider on the festival circuit spoke to me this afternoon and confirmed there appeared to have been a rebellion from some of the DJs booked to appear.

I must emphasise my source does not know exactly who is involved, but it’s believed that Hannah Wants – a known anti-vaxxer – was not. My source said “I think it’s the non-British DJs that caused the change of heart. Some of them come from countries where these things aren’t a requirement, whereas others are saying it would be impractical”.

When I asked what he meant by “impractical”, he explained “A few of these DJs are effectively treating 51st State like part of a tour. Some of them say getting hold of these tests is logistically difficult when travelling between many countries, others say they have their own arrangements in place and extra tests are not necessary”.

I verified this information with another source, and it all seems to check out. So it looks like the festival organisers decided to pander to the egos of DJs who didn’t want to be inconvenienced. Travel restrictions in place across many countries mean booking a replacement in a hurry isn’t always easy. Less forgivable is the undeserved victory they’ve given to the loud, dangerous and fact-free anti-vaxxers…

As 51st State announce vaccine status or negative test will be needed to get in, will Hannah Wants exercise her principles – or does she happily “comply” for a fat pay cheque?

Hannah Wants gets very ratty with people who suggest that her views are motivated by money. When someone claimed her stance on lockdown was based entirely on her desperation to start charging extortionate fees again, she denied it – less than convincingly.

During lockdown, she made clear her own views on Covid and related matters. She made clear she would not take a Covid-19 vaccine before it was invented. She doesn’t like 5G much either. So presumably, she won’t be happy to discover that 51st State Festival are now demanding a negative Covid test, vaccine status or evidence of recent infection to gain entry.

Her name is listed in the biggest font size on their promotional material…

It’s unclear whether 51st State Festival is enforcing the same entrance policy on the DJs, singers and artists who will entertain the crowds on the day – they have been contacted for clarification on this.

All the same, it creates an interesting dilemma for Wants. If the entrance policy does apply, she’ll have to do a lateral flow test to gain entry – assuming she’s stuck to her vaccine stance, of course. Which means she would be “complying”, to use her own word, which undermines her own stance.

And if the entrance policy does not apply to DJs and the rest, it creates a two-tier situation. Will Wants cancel her appearance in protest at the policy she sees as being inflicted on her fans? Or are we about to discover the real reason she gets ratty when asked if she’s motivated by money is because the allegation is true?

And she cannot even vent her spleen due to the knowledge that her new employers at Kiss FM are keeping a close eye on those tweets of hers.

Principles or money – which is it to be, Hannah?

Who’d have guessed they’d react so badly, eh? 51st State Festival become the latest to demand vaccine status or negative test to get in – and the anti-vaxxers are foaming at the mouth!

Spare a thought for the poor sod who’s been in charge of 51st State Festival’s social media pages today. Over the past 24 hours, they’ve been fielding enquiries, complaints and tedious rants from people. Why? Because 51st State Festival has now disclosed if you want to get in, you’ll need either proof you’ve had your two jabs or a negative test.

These anti-vaxxers are forever going on about freedom. In their case, the freedom not to get vaccinated. Where is their respect to the festival for exercising their freedom to put in rules like this? That’s what freedom means. Their house, their rules. Or does that only apply when you agree with the rules?

Anyway, their posts on this subject truly are bringing out a smorgasbord from the sensible to the downright stupid. The sensible ranges from comments asking whether a certificate is acceptable, as they come from Scotland – where different rules to England apply. And then you get to the stupid.

There’s no end of comments to choose from, but I’ll just choose one. I shall leave out her second name, but someone called Natalie claims she will not do the test. The reason? Apparently, the Ethylene Oxide used to sterilise the tests before they’re sent out is dangerous – despite the fact it’s been used for at least half a century on countless pieces of medical equipment.

With that sort of logic, perhaps Natalie had best stay away from everyone, not just 51st State Festival…

Is Derrick May appearing at 51st State Festival? The mystery is solved!

A few weeks ago, I posed a question. Was Derrick May going to appear at 51st State Festival this year?

I asked the question because the replies coming from the festival themselves were vague and contradictory. It appears quite highly on Google, suggesting some curiousity on the subject.

Today, their full line-up has finally been released. Let’s have a look.

The mystery is solved. Unless Derrick May is announced as a guest at the last minute – and I can’t see the organisers being that stupid – he will NOT be appearing at 51st State Festival this year.

Now as to the mystery of whether it’s going ahead at all. This could be a lot harder to crack…

Is Derrick May appearing at 51st State Festival? Mystery as festival bosses both deny and refuse to deny rumours on social media

I’ve been looking at this over the past few days and I’ve decided to post about it. Perhaps it’ll help clear up the mystery of whether Derrick May – accused of rape and sexual assault by no less than 20 different women – will be appearing at the 51st State Festival in August.

Currently, this flyer is doing the rounds. Derrick May’s name is clearly stated quite high up the poster.

This is where things start to get a little confusing. The festival last year was due to take place on August 1st. However, due to this thing called the coronavirus sweeping the world – you might have heard for it – it was cancelled. The date of this flyer is correct – Saturday 7th August 2021.

Nonetheless, Derrick May’s name is clearly stated. So when Dave Clarke – great DJ, crap journalist – posted an interview with the dog whistle claim that allegations against May were “hazy”, questions were aimed towards 51st State Festival about whether he was still on the lineup. On Facebook, they responded to one person with this.

That’s a pretty categorical answer there from 51st State Festival. Someone should get around to updating their flyer! However, this is where things get a little confusing.

Annabel Ross, the journalist who wrote two exposes on Derrick May, asked 51st State Festival about this on Twitter on Friday. She received this response.

Their own flyer claims that he is appearing, yet their own social media channels are communicating that he’s not playing and also that they can’t confirm anything yet.

My conclusion? The people at 51st State Festival don’t seem to know their arses from the elbows. You might want to hold off booking until a scintilla of competence makes its presence known…