2020 has been a devastating year for live music and festivals around the globe and a world favourite warns that a repeat could kill their livelihood.
It’s been a circular news cycle the past few months of seeing waves of gigs and festivals shut down for the year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Glastonbury, the huge and beloved UK festival, was among the first to cancel their plans for the year back in March.
As with most cancelled festivals, like Coachella in the US, Glastonbury decided to write off this year and set a triumphant return for next year. But with the global situation still up in the air and the WHO warning the worst could still be yet to come with inevitable “second spikes” even the distant dates of 2021’s festival season is up in the air.
Glastonbury organisers, Michael and Emily Eavis, have said that if they’re forced to cancel again next year they will go bankrupt. This is telling for the thousands of smaller festivals and independent venues around the world facing similar struggles over the shutdown of live music and events if even this globally renowned festival could see it’s end with one more cancellation.
They explained that there are reserves to cover it for this year but they haven’t got the funds to handle two in a row. Michael told the Guardian: “We have to run next year, otherwise we would seriously go bankrupt. It has to happen for us, we have to carry on. Otherwise it will be curtains. I don’t think we could wait another year.”
In the UK, license fees for cancelled events haven’t been refunded to organisers which has had a huge impact on events organisers instability. Emily Eavis adds that those refunds “would offer a financial lifeline to many events.”
She says of their uncertainty: “We’ve navigated choppy waters so many times. This festival has always evolved and found ways to survive and I’m confident that we will again.”
It was Glastonbury’s half a century anniversary last weekend. In celebration the BBC brought Glastonbury to the homes of people around the country to tune in for 5 nights of the best sets over the years featuring David Bowie, Beyoncé, Adele, RadioHead, and many more.