The organizers of Glastonbury have announced that Britain’s famous music festival will be canceled for a second consecutive year amid the coronavirus pandemic – an ominous move for live music promoters and artists ahead of an uncertain summer.
“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,” organizers Michael and Emily Eavis said in a joint statement on Thursday. “We are so sorry to let you all down.”
Paul McCartney was set to headline one of the three premier slots at the iconic weekend-long festival in June 2020. The former Beatle told the BBC last month that he did not expect the event to go ahead this year.
Organizers said on Thursday that tickets already purchased will roll over to 2022 – when Glastonbury intends to hold just its second event in five years, following a year off in 2018 and two consecutive canceled events.
“We thank you for your incredible continued support and let’s look forward to better times ahead,” the organizers wrote.
Alongside McCartney, Taylor Swift and Kendrick Lamar were signed on to headline the 2020 event before the pandemic scuppered live music performances around the world.
The internationally renowned event takes place over 900 acres of the Eavis family’s Somerset farm, southwestern England.
The 2019 festival drew a crowd of 175,000 attendees and featured performances from The Cure, Stormzy and The Killers, amongst others.
Glastonbury – arguably the most esteemed live music event in the world – has been headlined by a glittering array of British and global stars since its first date in 1970, including David Bowie, the Rolling Stones, Oasis, U2 and Beyoncé.
The decision to scrap the event will be nervously received throughout the music industry, which is still hoping to return to live concerts in 2021 despite the perilous state of the pandemic.
As a study from London’s Imperial College revealed on Thursday that Covid-19 cases in England are “not falling,” despite a third lockdown, the fate of the country’s other summer celebrations – such as the BBC Proms – hangs in the balance.