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Why Are UK Music Festivals Cancelling This Summer – Even Though The Roadmap Is On Course?

23.04.2021: Dozens of music festivals have already been forced to cancel or postpone this summer. The fate of others hangs in the balance as organisers ponder whether they can go ahead.

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23.04.2021: Dozens of music festivals have already been forced to cancel or postpone this summer. The fate of others hangs in the balance as organisers ponder whether they can go ahead.

But why is this happening at a time when the hugely successful vaccine rollout is continuing at pace and the Government has said that its roadmap is “irreversible”?

Below, we look at what’s going on and what steps are needed to ensure we can #SaveOur Summer and give the nation a summer packed with the best of British music.

What’s Going On?

Festival and event organisers have the right safety measures in place and are following all the guidance laid down to prevent the spread of Covid-19 as the number of cases continue to shrink.

However, one vital piece of the jigsaw is missing. Organisers urgently need a Government-backed insurance scheme so they can proceed with confidence and spend the huge outlay required to put on a festival.

What Can Be Done?

Our Chief Executive Jamie Njoku-Goodwin has warned since last year that without a Government-backed insurance scheme there would be a “wave of cancellations”. Read a piece from Jamie setting out what needs to be done here.

At the start of the year UK Music released the Let The Music Play: Save Our Summer 2021 report (read here) – which highlighted the challenges facing the sector returning this summer and what the industry needed the Government to do to ensure that our world-renowed festivals could take place.

What Support Do We Have?

Chair of the DCMS Select Committee Julian Knight MP has repeatedly asked his Conservative colleagues, Chancellor Rishi Sunak and PM Boris Johnson to implement an insurance scheme like that which TV & film already benefit from. Read more here.

The Chair of the All-Party Group on Music David Warburton MP has also backed this call saying at our #LockdownOneYearOn panel event: “There is a huge cross-party group of MPs and the industry who are pushing the Government.” Watch our #LockdownOneYearOn panel event here.

Who Has Already Cancelled?

Here is a list of some of the festivals that have cancelled so far and their statements:

Bluedot
Belladrum Tartan Heart
Download
BST Hyde Park
Glastonbury
Shambala
Junction 2
Deer Shed
Cambridge Folk Festival
Boomtown
Cornbury

In January, Glastonbury cancelled for the second year running. It was a devastating blow to our nation’s culture & the economy in the South West, which benefits from £528 million generated through music tourism.

Download was cancelled at the start of March. More than 2,000 people are employed in the East Midlands from music tourism alone.

Duran Duran and Pearl Jam were set to perform at BST Hyde Park this year, but this was cancelled in mid-March. London gets £1.5 billion from people coming to the city for live music events.

At the start of April, Bluedot Festival cancelled. The event featured in our Music By Numbers 2020 report, which came out last November and included festival director Ben Robinson highlighting the need for insurance, which shows how long we have been calling for this. Read more here.

The continued absence of an insurance safety net meant more festival organisers are being forced to cancel or postpone including Cornbury, Cambridge Folk Festival, Shambala, Belladrum, Junction 2, Deershed and many more.

To the disappoint of thousands of fans, one of latest festivals to pull the plug is Boomtown, which announced on Tuesday it would not happen this year. Less than a month ago the festival’s Director of Communications Anna Wade called for Govt-backed insurance at our #LockdownOneYearOn panel event.

What Can You Do?

If you want to see festivals go ahead this summer, please urge your MP to support a Government-backed insurance scheme. #LetTheMusicPlay #SaveOurSummer.

Support the Twitter thread here.

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