For the second year in a row, Greenbelt Festival has announced its cancellation. The festival’s organiser has spent the last few months planning and booking the event, while hoping that the Government would provide festivals with the insurance protection they need to go ahead this summer. But this backing has not been forthcoming. As a result, Greenbelt will not go ahead in 2021.
The festival organising team has said that it “has had to make the call to cancel because its pockets are nowhere near deep enough to risk the future of its event”.
Although not in receipt of any of the Government’s Cultural Recovery Fund, Greenbelt is confident that, because of its generous community of Festival Angel donors, it will pull through. The team is even working on a potential Plan B which, rather than its digital offering in the summer of 2020, could be more “sunlight than screens”.
Paul Northup, Greenbelt’s creative director, said: “We are heartbroken to cancel again. Particularly because we’re sure that by the time late August rolls around all that we do would be safe and perfectly possible. So it will seem sad and unnecessary that we’ve been forced to cancel.
“It feels like the Government injected a whole heap of consumer confidence into the UK events sector with its roadmap but then baulked at the relatively modest amount of money that would have been required to back its own plan with the insurance support it needed.
“Last year’s cancellation had a weird, horrible novelty to it: the first summer without festivals. We could barely imagine it, let alone predict that there could be a second. This year, our small team has worked through the awful logic of this decision with a numbed, nauseous feeling. We know what a summer without the chance to come together feels like, and we can’t quite believe that we will all have to endure it again.
“Our thoughts go out to all our supporters and ticket buyers, as well as to all our friends in the independent festival sector, all the artists and speakers and all our suppliers. A festival is an ecosystem, a delicate web that means life and livelihoods for so many for so many reasons.”
Image: Greenbelt Festivals/John Sargent