UK’s 2021 Music Festivals Face Potential Cancellation

We’re a week into 2021 and there’s no sugarcoating here – things aren’t looking great. Following the UK government’s Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee inquiry into the viability of events this summer, the fate of some of UK’s biggest music festivals now lie on the line.

The initial hearing welcomed industry figures such as Sacha Lord, co-founder of Manchester’s Parklife Festival, and Jamie Njoku-Goodwin, UK Music CEO. Speaking to MPs on Tuesday, Lord highlighted the need for governmental support. “If the government don’t help with insurance, then the smaller festivals are going to drop away.” Additionally, he suggested that vaccinations and mass testing would also be necessary to ensure the future of live music events, especially since “social distancing does not work at any of these events“. For further detail, the full discussion can be found here.

“People want to go to a gig, whether it’s a festival or a small grassroots venue… The appetite is out there.”

Sacha Lord
Glastonbury Festival 2019 (Photo by Ki Price/Getty Images)
Glastonbury Festival 2019 (Photo by Ki Price/Getty Images)

However, if the above measures are not implemented, the speakers emphasized that festivals will be forced to cancel before summer even hits.

Meanwhile, Njoku-Goodwin also shared a UK Music report prior to the hearing, which highlighted the importance of live music to the society. Titled Let the Music Play: Save Our Summer, the report also covers the impact of COVID-19, recovery measures, and other economic and health risks of rebuilding the sector. You can find the full report here.

Glastonbury Denies Rumor of Cancellation

This comes just as Glastonbury organisers deny rumours of its cancellation. However, they have promised to “let you know right here as soon as we have an update..”

The arrival of widespread vaccination indeed does lead to some optimism. However, whether they are being distributed in time takes away from that. And as Lord suggested in the hearing, without governmental support like a cancellation insurance policy, the financial burden on festival organisers may simply be too large.

Whatever the final decision, we’re here to keep you updated on the latest developments.