Glastonbury 2021 cancelled due to coronavirus pandemic

"We are so sorry to let you all down" say Michael and Emily Eavis

Glastonbury 2021 has been cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic, Michael and Emily Eavis have announced.

The festival will take an enforced fallow year for the second summer in a row, after the 2020 edition of the Somerset event was also called off last March due to COVID-19 concerns.

“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,” organisers Michael and Emily Eavis wrote on Twitter to announce the news, adding that tickets for this year, rolled over from 2020, will remain valid for the 2022 festival. Ticket information can be found on the festival’s website here.

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The statement continued: “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. We are so sorry to let you all down.

“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.”

Over the past few months, Emily Eavis assured fans that Glastonbury 2021 may well have been able to go ahead, and was forced to deny claims made by Mel B earlier this month that this year’s event had been pulled.

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It came after Michael Eavis said recently that he hoped that Glastonbury Festival would be able to return this summer providing that the “majority” of the UK’s population is vaccinated against coronavirus by June.

Speaking to NME this month, festival bosses, gig promoters and scientists discussed the prospect of live music and festivals returning this summer.

Dr Michael Head, Senior Research Fellow in Global Health at the University of Southampton, warned that the necessary level of vaccination might not be reached until the end of summer.

“We’d want a bare minimum of 50% of the population to be vaccinated [before festivals can happen], but probably more like 60%,” Dr Head told NME. “That would probably take us towards the end of the summer at around August or September. If you were planning something very large like Glastonbury, I’d probably be waiting until next year for sure.”

Glastonbury
Glastonbury Festival in 2019 (Picture: Getty)

Melvin Benn, managing director of Festival Republic and boss of events including Reading & Leeds and Download Festival, told NME: “I feel very positive because I know that it’s possible.”

“The Prime Minister has said that 88% of hospitalisations and deaths will disappear once the over-70s and frontline workers are vaccinated,” said Benn. “The Health Secretary said: ‘When that’s done, cry freedom’ – I’m crying freedom. At that point, I’m saying let’s get on with it.”

Benn continued: “I’m super confident about the end of the summer, I’m super confident about the beginning of the summer. If everyone over the age of 60, or definitely the age of 50, is vaccinated by the end of May, then Jesus – there should be no stopping us.”

Isle Of Wight Festival boss John Giddings, meanwhile, said he believes “you’d probably need for 50% of the audience to be vaccinated, and for 50% to be able to get a test in a very short period of time, like five-to-10 minutes” for his festival – which is set for a week before the planned Glastonbury 2021 date in late June – to take place.

“I don’t think that’s unrealistic,” he added. “Isle Of Wight Festival is six months away, it’s not tomorrow. I just want to help accelerate the process.”

In terms of other UK summer festivals in 2021, the boss of Glasgow’s TRNSMT says he’s “very optimistic” about the festival taking place this year.

Referencing a trial held by Barcelona’s Primavera Sound festival looking into the possibility of gigs with no social distancing, whose results showed zero infection rate among 500 attendees after rapid testing was employed, TRNSMT head Geoff Ellis said: “If you couple a similar strategy here, with the benefit of our huge vaccination drive, the situation rapidly advances to one where you can get back to doing things that have been impossible in recent times.”

At the start of January, The Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) select committee heard from organisers of Parklife and Boomtown that many summer festivals could be cancelled as soon as the end of this month without urgent government clarity, assurances on what might be possible and help with insurance.

“If the government don’t help with insurance then the smaller festivals are going to drop away,” Sacha Lord, co-founder of Parklife, said. “Social distancing does not work at any of these events. It’s a festival.”

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