Glastonbury Festival cancelled for second year in a row

Glastonbury Festival has been cancelled for the second year in a row because of the coronavirus pandemic, organisers Michael and Emily Eavis have announced.

It had been hoped that the celebration of music and arts would be able to go ahead in 2021, after it was called off in 2020 on what would have been 50th anniversary.

Earlier this month, Emily, the daughter of founder Michael, dismissed speculation that it had been axed.

“In spite of our efforts to move Heaven & Earth, it has become clear that we simply will not be able to make the Festival happen this year. We are so sorry to let you all down.

“As with last year, we would like to offer all those who secured a ticket in October 2019 the opportunity to roll their £50 deposit over to next year, and guarantee the chance to buy a ticket for Glastonbury 2022.

“We are very appreciative of the faith and trust placed in us by those of you with deposits, and we are very confident we can deliver something really special for us all in 2022!

“We thank you for your incredible continued support and let’s look forward to better times ahead.

“With love, Michael & Emily.”

In December Emily told the BBC that Glastonbury organisers are “doing everything we can on our end to plan and prepare but I think we’re still quite a long way from being able to say we’re confident 2021 will go ahead”.

She added the festival lost “millions” in 2020 but that it would avoid bankruptcy “as long as we can make a firm call either way in advance” about this year’s event.

The festival at Worthy Farm in Somerset was sold out for 2021 because so few people have asked for a refund from last year, when headliners Sir Paul McCartney, Taylor Swift and Kendrick Lamar were all due to perform.

Rob Da Bank, radio DJ and co-founder of the Bestival music festival, which was last held in 2018, said he is “optimistic” other events will be able to go ahead over the summer.

He tweeted to say that he thinks “festival season will happen in the UK this summer”, adding: “Sadly Glasto is such a mammoth beast to plan it ran outta time.”

Sacha Lord, co-founder of Mancheter’s Parklife festival, said Glastonbury’s cancellation is “yet another blow” to freelancers who work in the music industry.

Mr Lord, who is also Greater Manchester’s night-time economy adviser, said in a tweet: “Very sad to see Glastonbury is not taking place this year.

“As well as a blow to customers, the whole team behind it and artists, I cannot but help think it’s yet another blow to the thousands of freelancers who work it.

“They will be back next year, bigger, bolder and stronger.”

Former Labour deputy leader Tom Watson, who is the chair of UK Music, which represents the commercial interests of the music industry, said he is “gutted” about the cancellation.

Mr Watson, who has been photographed at the event in previous years, added on Twitter: “I think it could have been avoided if the UK had a major festivals underwriting scheme.

“If the vaccine rollout is a success, it wouldn’t have cost too much.

“And what a way it would have been to celebrate the joyful power of vaccinations.”

Jamie Njoku-Goodwin, chief executive of UK Music, said: “This cancellation is devastating for all of us on both on a personal and professional level. It will have a serious impact on thousands of jobs right across the country and many jobs in the supply chains for Glastonbury.

“There is now a huge cloud of uncertainty hanging over the whole summer festival and live music season with the entire industry left in limbo and thousands more jobs in jeopardy.

“It is absolutely critical that the Government look at more financial support for the music industry and those who work in it as a matter of urgency. Without more Government help, there is a real risk that some of our world-leading music scene will disappear forever.”

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said in a statement that he shares “the disappointment of everyone that Glastonbury won’t be going ahead this year”.

He added: “This regrettable but understandable decision is recognition that public health comes first and that right now, getting 200k fans together in just a few months looks very difficult to make safe.

“We continue to help the arts on recovery, including looking at problems around getting insurance.

“I’m sure Glastonbury will be back bigger and better next year.”

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