Glastonbury Music Festival Called Off for Second Year Due to Coronavirus

Manori Ravindran
·3-min read

The U.K.’s biggest music event, Glastonbury, has been canceled for a second consecutive year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The festival normally takes place in June, but faced with continued uncertainty about the state of the U.K.’s precarious handle on the pandemic, founder Michael Eavis and daughter Emily Eavis have pulled the plug on what would have been the belated 50th edition of the iconic music festival.

In a letter to festival goers posted on Thursday, organizers said: “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. 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.”

The festival is carrying over its ticket policy from 2020, offering those who secured a ticket in October 2019 the opportunity to roll their £50 ($68) 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!” continued the organizers. “We thank you for your incredible continued support and let’s look forward to better times ahead.”

Glastonbury 2020 was set to feature Taylor Swift, Paul McCartney and Kendrick Lamar. The festival had been bullish about plans to go ahead despite coronavirus fears right up until mid-March, when it joined the slew of U.K. events that either postponed or canceled their plans for the year in quick succession as the country was placed under lockdown. Instead, Glasto went ahead as a virtual event, with the BBC running “The Glastonbury Experience,” featuring classic performances from the storied festival.

It’s still unclear what’s in store for this year’s event in terms of a virtual offering.

In December, Emily Eavis told the BBC that the festival was doing “everything we can on our end to plan and prepare, but I think we’re still quite a long way from being able to say we’re confident 2021 will go ahead.” She also noted that the festival had lost “millions” in 2020, when Glasto was forced to cancel three months out from the event.

The U.K. marked its worst daily death toll since the start of the pandemic on Wednesday, reporting 1,820 deaths. This brings the country’s total number of deaths up to 93,290. According to the BBC, 4.6 million people have received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Glasto’s 2021 cancellation also comes during a dire period for U.K. music. On Wednesday, 100 top performers, including Elton John and Ed Sheeran, published an open letter to the government highlighting the difficulties for touring in Europe due to free movement restrictions post-Brexit.

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