Glastonbury traders voice fears over festival cancellation

"It's a scary time for all of us"

Traders and charities who were set to feature at this year’s Glastonbury Festival have spoken about how the event’s cancellation could mean many of their businesses “will not survive.”

Glastonbury 2020 was cancelled earlier this week (March 18) as the UK continues to be affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

Over 200,000 ticket holders and workers attended the event in 2019. Aside from the disappointment of music fans – whose tickets will remain valid for the next festival, currently postponed to 2021 – small businesses and charities are set to lose out as a result of the move.

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Speaking to the BBC, several traders who were due to work at Glastonbury have voiced their fears about what it could mean for their livelihoods.

Liz Hollinghurst, who has worked at the event for several years, said: “Butleigh Cricket Club, which I volunteer for, was going to be stewarding the Sticklinch camping area this summer. The impact on us as a club is massive, although we fully understand why the festival has been postponed.

“I’ve also got friends who help build and take down the festival, and that can start in April so they could lose as much as four months’ work. It’s a scary time for all of us.”

The story of Glastonbury 2019 in photos
Glastonbury 2019. Credit: NME

Hannah Bennett, who sells sustainable clothing via her Rainbow Rebel stall, said the sheer size of Glastonbury in their business calendar meant that the impact could be severe.

“Like many other festival traders at this time of year, all our money is tied up in stock and paying pitch fees,” she explained. “Glastonbury is the ‘big one’, where we get seen by the most festival-goers which does lead to more online sales.”

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She added: “It is a deeply worrying time where many businesses will not survive.”

Shortly after news of the festival’s cancellation broke, the BBC announced plans to broadcast “a celebration of Glastonbury” this summer.

“We, along with the Eavis family, are saddened that understandably, the Glastonbury Festival can’t take place,” a statement from the BBC press office said.

“We are already looking forward to next year’s festival at Worthy Farm and will now look at providing our audiences with a celebration of Glastonbury in June.”

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