By Massimo Castelli
With the cancellation of the 2021 Glastonbury festival on January 4th many artists and fans have been left high and dry when it comes to festivals and live music.
This recent cancellation means that the festival has been rescheduled for the second year in a row due to the coronavirus pandemic, leading to a huge blow to fan and artist moral.
The overall disappointment has only been fuelled by the line-up of huge headlining acts such as Sir Paul McCartney, Taylor Swift and Kendrick Lamar that were set to appear at the festival this year.
Festival Organises Michael and Emily Eavis made a statement on the official Glastonbury website concerning the cancellation. “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.”
For the 200,000 or so people who make the trip to the festival each year, the shockwave has been felt across the music industry. On twitter there has been outpouring messages of support from the music world and beyond with BBC Radio 2 DJ Annie Mac tweeting. “Sending love to Michael, Emily and the huge team who help to produce @glastonbury every year”.
Rob Da Bank, DJ and co-founder of music festivals Bestival, also tweeted. “So gutted that @glastonbury is not happening this year…
“bugger for you guys who bought tickets but pls spare a thought for Michael, Emily and Nick who will be devastated and all the crew and team who depend on it happening… sad times”.
The support from the festival has also stretched out into the political world with MP Julian Knight voicing his concerns over the greater impact the cancellation of festivals such as this one will have on the UK economy.
“We have repeatedly called for Ministers to act to protect our world-renowned festivals like this one with a Government-backed insurance scheme.
“Our plea fell on deaf ears and now the chickens have come home to roost”.
On January 5, the government responded to a report by UK Music called Let the Music Play: Save Our Summer 2021, that presented several solutions on how to help keep festivals such as Glastonbury alive.
The government said: “Our £1.57bn Culture Recovery Fund has already seen more than £1bn offered to arts, heritage and performance organisations to support them through the impact of the pandemic. protecting tens of thousands of creative jobs across the UK, including festivals such as Deer Shed Festival, End of the Road and Nozstock.”
Although there has been a significant funding increase by the government there is still work to be done in preserving events such as Glastonbury. According to the Musicians’ Union, the music industry is worth £5.8bn to the UK economy, generating 200,000 jobs. However as of December 2020, half were working in roles outside the sector.
With the PM outlining his lockdown exit strategy by outlining the possibility of social contact measures being removed from the 21st of June many festivals scheduled for later in the summer are planning on going ahead, could this be giving fans and festival organizers false hope. Only time will tell but we’ll have to wait a little while longer before we can see Britain’s marquee festival back open again.