Frequently Asked Questions

Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival 2021

The Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival is scheduled to be held at the Old Swan Hotel from the 22 – 25 July 2021.

Given the current pandemic, the proposed roadmap, the available events guidance and, most importantly of all for us, the safety of our authors and audience, there are a number of things to be aware of. As an arts and events charity, we don’t yet have all the answers, but we want to ensure our audiences and partners are aware of our current plans for delivery. We will be updating these FAQs regularly so please do check back for the most up to date information.

Those familiar with the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival will recognise the Ballroom in the Old Swan Hotel as the usual host to a number of events across the weekend. However, based on the current distancing regulations, we intend to move to an on-site tented auditorium, allowing appropriate distancing and ventilation. The tent will host all of the live events, likely with a limited capacity audience based on the guidelines at the time. In addition, the events will be broadcast to screened digital spaces, including the Ballroom, within the hotel, which will be offered as a ‘digital ticket’ that allows access to the Old Swan Hotel site and the live-streamed digital events that will be situated just a few metres away from the events themselves.
We know the bars, socialising and the tents on the lawn are a huge part of the overall event, and we are working to create enough space to accommodate those that have booked tickets. As with hospitality more widely, it is likely that seated bar service will need to be in place, and we are making provisions for that requirement on the weekend, including creating additional seating and spaces.

Based on the guidelines at the time, there may be spaces where you have to wear a mask for the duration or whilst you are walking around the site. We will be led by regulations in place at the time. Medical exemptions will apply.

Again, we will be led by the guidelines at the time and we are working hard to gain clarity on this as an events industry.

Based on the current requirements and managing the event safely in terms of numbers, required distancing and additional safety measures including sanitising and people, it is expected a number of measures will be in place:

  • We collect contact details for all ticket bookers and attendees for our events and will have this information, although you may have to ‘check in’ as part of government guidance in place at the time
  • All tickets will be allocated a reserved seat for events rather than the previous unreserved
  • Everyone on site will have to register and have a relevant ticket

We will be liaising directly with all ticket and package bookers with regard to your 2021 booking and updating you on hotels, supplements and ensuring you have the up to date information to assist with your plans for this year.

We are in discussions about managing a quality broadcast from site in Harrogate, and will share more on our plans in the coming weeks.

We are aware of many festivals who have gone on sale as though the 21st June is a guaranteed date for England reopening with an expectation that all restrictions may be removed and we wish them all the luck!

What is clear is that events are being managed within the roadmap with different expectations to hospitality, so the guidance and research is taking longer to be produced. Most summer events have not operated for over 2 years and at this stage there is no insurance in place for the industry for a cancellation due to changes locally or nationally around Covid19. When we go on sale we want to ensure we have all the information we are able to reassure you as to the safety of our event this July.

All events will be ticketed as normal and on sale dates will be announced in the coming weeks. There may be capacities on site as we go on sale which may increase as the roadmap progresses.

In addition, we are aware there are people who attend the festival each year who we don’t have details for. This year, in order to enter the Old Swan Hotel site, including grounds, a pre-registration ticket will be required to ensure the number of people on site remains safe. This will need to be purchased in advance to ensure we operate safely within the guidelines, and that we have sufficient provision for table service, sanitising and more practical elements like toilet provision & cleaning.

The site may look and feel a little different this year, and given the inclement weather it may be wise to consider clothes to cover both outdoor wet weather for some areas of the bars as well as to cover the potential for fabulous sunshine including sunscreen.

We are mindful of all the regulations and keeping a careful eye on guidance within the industry and from government and will update these FAQs regularly in the run up to July.

Please contact us if you need to make any changes and refer to any terms and conditions associated with your booking.

Rest assured that the festival will only go ahead if it’s considered safe to do so – the safety of our audiences and authors is paramount to us. If the 2021 festival has to be postponed due to Covid-19 restrictions, ticket holders will have the option to either rollover tickets to 2022 or request a refund.