Arts Derbyshire


Swapping Aqua for AstraZeneca: Derby festival organiser wins acclaimed gong at UK Festival Awards 2022 for covid pivot

James Dean Events transformed festival business into UK’s first independent drive-through vaccination hub

Derby-based James Dean Events, which runs two of the county’s biggest summer festivals, has struck gold at the UK Festival Awards 2022 due to transforming his 15-year old festival business into the country’s very first drive-through covid testing site during the pandemic.

Recognised for iconic Derby events at Catton Park, the Sausage & Cider Festival and the most nostalgic trip down memory lane, Back 2 Festival, James Dean and his eight-strong team won the award for The Positively Perfect Pivot at the UK Festival Awards 2022.

Recognised at the awards ceremony in Manchester this week, the team utilised its years of industry expertise, logistics, equipment and network, in order to implement covid testing sites across 15 locations in record time, which in turn saved the NHS a sum of £560,000.

Due to the success of the initial independent drive-through vaccination hub site in Swadlincote, this quickly became 15 sites. The team at James Dean Events then pivoted ever further to ensure all sites were fit for purpose to vaccinate children as well as adults, in order that the country could catch up with the rate of standard vaccinations.

James Dean, Owner of James Dean Events, said: “The pandemic was a difficult time for everyone in the events industry and we were proud to have been able to help our local community by rapidly providing event infrastructure and equipment needed to mobilise testing in our region. We’re really proud to have picked up this award for the team’s tireless work over those months.”

The work of the team throughout the pandemic has been recognised by not only the NHS but also the army, resulting in official commendations from both organisations. The work didn’t stop with the testing sites, as James Dean and his colleagues went on to raise £120,000 for ABF The Soldiers’ Charity.

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