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Glastonbury cancelled

By | Published on Wednesday 18 March 2020

Glastonbury Festival

Glastonbury Festival has announced that it is cancelling its 50th anniversary edition this June in light of the ongoing public health crisis caused by the spread of COVID-19.

Obviously, this follows countless cancellations of shows, tours and festivals around the world, and especially in the last few days in the UK. However, for the British music community at large, in many ways, this is the big one.

Announcing the decision, organisers Michael and Emily Eavis say that cancellation is now the “only viable option”. They add that they wanted to make a firm announcement before the 1 Apr deadline for ticketholders to pay the remaining balance on their ticket orders.

“We are so sorry to announce this, but Glastonbury 2020 will have to be cancelled, and this will be an enforced fallow year for the festival”, they say in a statement. “Clearly this was not a course of action we hoped to take for our 50th anniversary event, but following the new government measures announced this week – and in times of such unprecedented uncertainty – this is now our only viable option”.

Even as it became clear earlier this month that severe measures would be required across Europe to restrict and delay the spread of COVID-19, many in the music industry hoped – perhaps naively – that things would be back to normal by June. To that end, just last week Glastonbury put out a big line-up announcement. But it increasingly looks likely that the impact of COVID-19 is going to be felt for much longer than a few weeks.

Even if it isn’t, as the Eavises point out in their statement, current measures mean that they and their team are unable to begin the work necessary to deliver an event in June. They write that they “are no longer able to spend the next three months with thousands of crew here on the farm, helping us with the enormous job of building the infrastructure and attractions needed to welcome more than 200,000 people to a temporary city in these fields”.

Refunds on the £50 deposits already paid towards tickets for this year’s event will be made available through See Tickets. Alternatively, those who had secured tickets for 2020 are being given the option to transfer that to a deposit for the 2021 event, guaranteeing a ticket for next year.

“The cancellation of this year’s festival will no doubt come as a terrible blow to our incredible crew and volunteers who work so hard to make this event happen”, the statement goes on. “There will also inevitably be severe financial implications as a result of this cancellation – not just for us, but also the festival’s charity partners, suppliers, traders, local landowners and our community”.

“We were so looking forward to welcoming you all for our 50th anniversary with a line-up full of fantastic artists and performers that we were incredibly proud to have booked”, they conclude. “Again, we’re so sorry that this decision has been made. It was not through choice. But we look forward to welcoming you back to these fields next year and until then, we send our love and support to all of you”.

With the cancellation of the UK’s biggest and most famous festival now confirmed, this places doubt on all other large scale music events scheduled for the coming months.

Last week, the BBC announced that Radio 1’s Big Weekend in Dundee – set to take place in May – was being cancelled after the Scottish government said that events of more than 500 people should not go ahead.