Glastonbury Festival Cancelled Due To Coronavirus

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Positivus festival, Salacgrīva, Latvia.

by Esther Newman |
Updated on

Throughout all of these cancellations resulting from the coronavirus pandemic, there was one thing we were really hoping would still go ahead: Glastonbury. The annual festival is the highlight of the year for thousands of music fans, and this year's was going to be pretty special: it's the 50th anniversary. But, unfortunately and inevitably, it has now been cancelled.

The headliners had been confirmed: Taylor Swift, Sir Paul McCartney and Kendrick Lamar topped the line-up. Diana Ross was set to fill the iconic Legends' set on the Pyramid Stage. Tickets will roll over to 2021, so anyone who has one for 2020 will be able to go next year.

A statement from Michael and Emily Eavis read: ‘We are so sorry to announce this, but we are going to have to cancel Glastonbury 2020. Tickets for this year will roll over to next year. Full statement below and on our website. Michael & Emily.’

A full statement, posted on Twitter, read: ‘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. ‘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. ‘We very much hope that the situation in the UK will have improved enormously by the end of June. But even if it has, we 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.’

This announcement follows hopes that all would be well. Talking to Radio 1 Newsbeat, Glastonbury festival head of event operations Adrian Coombs had said they ‘thoroughly plan’ each year's event and ‘put in place all necessary measures to protect the public and maximise safety’, but are closely monitoring the situation.

‘As things stand we are still working hard to deliver our 50th anniversary Festival in June and we are very proud of the bill that we have put together over the last year or so,’ said festival boss Emily Eavis in an Instagram post.

‘No one has a crystal ball to see exactly where we will all be 15 weeks from now, but we are keeping our fingers firmly crossed that it will be here at Worthy Farm for the greatest show on Earth!⁣⁣’

Radio 1 Big Weekend is cancelled due to coronavirus

Meanwhile, though Radio 1’s Big Weekendfestival has been cancelled. It had been due to take place in Dundee over the late May bank holiday with Harry Styles and Dua Lipa headlining.

The decision followed advice from the Scottish government, who declared on March 12 that events of more than 500 people should be cancelled from next week. The Big Weekend festival was anticipating 70,000 to attend.

‘It is important that we prioritise the health and safety of all those involved,’ Radio 1 said in a statement announcing the cancellation.

‘This decision has been made in conjunction with our event partners, in line with the advice from the Scottish government, and while we know fans looking forward to purchasing tickets will be disappointed, it is important that we prioritise the health and safety of all those involved,’ the statement continued.

So what should I do if I have a festival booked this summer?

Watch this space and keep an eye on festivals’ social media for any future announcements. The BBC also have an updated list of festivals and their current status, which is worth bookmarking. We'll keep you posted here on any news as it comes too.

Young women at a music festival in England.
©Aranxa Esteve

What will the impact of cancellations be on the music industry?

Since the outbreak of coronavirus, the music industry has reported significant financial losses thanks to tour and cancellations and travel bans. In response, a petition started by those within the industry asking the UK Government to help assist the music events industry in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak has amassed 60,500 signatures and counting.

‘The industry is worth more than £14 billion to the economy, with 25,000 businesses supporting over 500,000 employees – all of whom are nervous about whether their next event will go ahead or not, and how their income may be affected,’ the petition reads.

‘I’d like the government to provide support to business & individuals struggling at this critical time [sic].’


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