This year’s Glastonbury music festival has been cancelled due to coronavirus, organisers have confirmed.
Michael and Emily Eavis announced the news on the festival’s official Twitter page writing: “With great regret, we must announce that this year’s Glastonbury Festival will not take place.”
It’s the second year running that Glastonbury will not go ahead, after last year’s 50th anniversary celebration was cancelled due to COVID-19.
As Europe’s largest live music event, a trip to Worthy Farm in Somerset is considered an annual pilgrimage to many music lovers.
In a full statement on their website the father and daughter team explained that in spite of “efforts to move Heaven & Earth”, the event would not be happening in 2021, adding that “this will be another enforced fallow year for us”.
“It has become clear that we simply will not be able to make the Festival happen this year. We are so sorry to let you all down.
With great regret, we must announce that this year’s Glastonbury Festival will not take place, and that this will be another enforced fallow year for us. Tickets for this year will roll over to next year. Full statement below and on our website. Michael & Emily pic.twitter.com/SlNdwA2tHd
— Glastonbury Festival (@glastonbury) January 21, 2021
“As with last year, we would like to offer all those who secured a ticket in October 2019 the opportunity to roll their £50 deposit over to next year, and guarantee the chance to buy a ticket for Glastonbury 2022.
“We are very appreciative of the faith and trust placed in us by those of you with deposits, and we are very confident we can deliver something really special for us all in 2022!
“We thank you for your incredible continued support and let’s look forward to better times ahead.”
News that Glastonbury will not be going ahead will not only come as a blow to music lovers across the world, but will also be a severe knock to the UK industry as a whole.
The festival’s headline acts regularly make headline news across the world.
And on the economic front, the live music industry makes £5.8bn for the UK economy every year. Such a huge loss of revenue will not go unnoticed.
A recent live report from UK Music predicted that the UK music industry would halve in size due to coronavirus – a forecast that will not be helped by this most recent blow.
Early this year, rumours that Glastonbury 2021 would not be going ahead swirled after stars including Sir Paul McCartney and Mel B hinted that it was already off the cards.
While it was never confirmed, speculation that The Spice Girls would be reuniting in the Legends slot at the anniversary event had given fans good reason to get excited about the event of the summer.
However, at the time the Eavis’s dismissed speculation, and said the festival team were doing their utmost to make it happen.
The 2021 festival had been sold out, as the majority of ticket holders from the cancelled 2020 event had chosen to roll-over their tickets.
It remains to be seen whether festival fans roll the dice for a third time, and hold on to their tickets once again with the hope of attending the festival in 2022.
Headliners Taylor Swift and Kendrick Lamar, as well as Diana Ross and McCartney, plus hundreds of other acts, were due to play at the 2020 anniversary celebration in June before the festival was called off due to COVID-19.
A line up for 2021 hadn’t been announced, however many had hoped that big acts unable to perform the previous year would return to honour their slot.
It has already been a catastrophic last year for the arts and entertainment industry due to coronavirus, with many live venues forced to close their doors to the public for the best part of 2020.
Despite the best efforts of many musicians to get gigs back up and running wherever possible in between lockdowns – enforcing social distancing measures and even adopting novel approaches including performing in giant inflatable bubbles – it now seems likely that cancellations from further big events and festivals will follow.
Analysis: With Glastonbury cancelled again, is there no hope for the 2021 festival season?
By Gemma Peplow, arts & entertainment reporter
When the cancellation of Glastonbury’s 50th anniversary festival was first announced as the pandemic started to take hold in the UK last year, it was a huge blow to the music industry but came as no surprise.
As the government showed us graphs of “flattening the curve”, and the impression was given it would be a case of simply getting through the next few months, at Worthy Farm in Somerset, tickets were rolled over and no doubt plans were made to get acts to keep their diaries free for June 2021.
While awful for everyone involved, it was one year, another fallow year. It would be okay.
Even when the festival’s founder, Michael Eavis, warned in August last year that he would “move heaven and earth” to make Glastonbury 2021 go ahead but that it might be “wishful thinking“, it still felt like he was erring on the side of caution, managing expectations, just in case. At that time, COVID-19 cases had been falling, lockdown measures had eased, the curve looked less terrifying and it felt like maybe things would start to get back to normal.
We all know what happened next. With cases starting to rise again and new variants of the coronavirus emerging, even with news of the vaccines being approved, normal started to seem very far away.
So cancelling Glastonbury for a second year sadly began to feel inevitable.
Bizarrely, it was Spice Girl Mel B who called it just a few weeks ago, saying in an interview that she had learned it was off. But Emily Eavis, who runs the festival, said no decision had been made at the time.
Just a few weeks later, they could clearly leave the announcement no longer. It is now official, with Michael and Emily Eavis announcing “another enforced fallow year” in a statement.
This news will be hugely disappointing for the 200,000 people who make the annual pilgrimage each year – the acts, their crew, the festival workers, the volunteers, as well as the fans.
But this is more than just a case of a missed weekend of fun. Glastonbury is the most famous festival in the word – its headline announcements alone making international news – and its cancellation is surely a bellwether for what we can expect for the rest of the 2021 festival season.
And it comes after almost a year of artists and those in the industry losing a huge chunk, if not all, of their income due to venues being closed.
The music industry is worth £5.8bn to the UK economy, generating 200,000 jobs, but as of December, half were working in roles outside the sector, according to the Musicians’ Union.
Of course, the Eavises had no choice. Socially distancing a festival of this scale would be impossible; despite the success with vaccinations so far in the UK, there are no guarantees.
While the big artists – Taylor Swift, Sir Paul McCartney and Kendrick Lamar had been due to headline Glastonbury in 2020 – will be okay, for the musicians and industry workers who have just scraped through the past 10 months, this news will have come as a devastating start to 2021.
And June 2022 seems a long way off.