Future of UK festivals looking 'grave' if 2021 sees cancellations again

The future of UK music festivals is being thrown into doubt, as organisers are becoming increasingly worried over the 2021 season being cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

2020 saw festival-goers forced to go without their usual summer fix, as much-loved festivals, including Glastonbury’s 50th anniversary festival, were cancelled due to the virus.

Live music events hosting large crowds have been prohibited in order to control the spread of Covid-19 and with the number of cases continuing to rise across England, there are worries festivals could face the same fate this summer.

If they do, festival founders have stressed that the future looks ‘grave’ for upcoming seasons.

Parklife, that takes place every year in Manchester, has already been booked for September 2021, with more than 250 artists and suppliers already snapped up.

However, the festival’s co-founder Sacha Lord has said there will be ‘serious problems’ if it can’t go ahead.

Speaking to MPs as part of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee’s looking into how the government can support festivals this summer, Lord said: ‘If we have got another year like 2020, we have got serious problems.’

Lord insisted that mass testing and vaccinations are ‘the only way forward’ to ensure festivals can take place, as he explained: ‘Social distancing does not work at any of these events. It’s a festival.

‘You just cannot put social distancing in place, so we are anticipating that we will be operating at 100 percent.’

Boomtown Fair’s communications and strategy director Anna Wade added that music events could end up in ‘absolutely dire straits’ financially if Covid-19 restrictions are still in place by the summer.

‘We were absolutely decimated,’ she said of Boomtown forced to cancel in 2020.

‘We were first to really shut down and will probably be one of the last to re-open as well,’ she added, as she called for the government to provide festivals with financial support.

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