Saturday, January 23, 2021


"We're so sorry to let you all down", wrote Michael and Emily Eavis in announcing "with great regret" that Glastonbury is off again and those fiftieth anniversary celebrations will have to be deferred for another year. The decision to cancel was enforced, of course, so no fault of theirs whatsoever - but it's worth remembering that it impacts not only punters and performers but also strikes a devastating blow for those who work behind the scenes making it all possible, whose livelihoods have completely evaporated.

Unsurprisingly, the news has prompted calls for more financial assistance for the music industry - and dire warnings of what might happen if it doesn't materialise. As UK Music chief executive Jamie Njoku-Goodwin told Music Week, "Without more government help, there is a real risk that some of our world-leading music scene will disappear forever."

Paul Reed of the Association of Independent Festivals was also quoted in the article: "Considering its global cultural significance as the largest greenfield festival in the world, of course Glastonbury can set the tone, especially in terms of public confidence in festivals going ahead this year." Clearly its sheer scale makes ensuring compliance with COVID-19 guidelines particularly challenging - but the cancellation certainly doesn't give me much faith in the prospect of getting to go back to my happy place this summer: sitting watching bands on the Green Man Stage in the late-afternoon August sunshine, cold beer in hand. I've ordered some of their branded brews, but they won't taste the same.

At least we have the Festival of Brexit to look forward to in 2022, though, eh? Given the way that the Tories have totally (and seemingly vindictively) shafted the music industry over visas, I can't see musicians queuing up to contribute to the festivities, can you?

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