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Glastonbury “would seriously go bankrupt” if forced to cancel in 2021 too

By | Published on Friday 26 June 2020

Glastonbury Festival

Glastonbury organisers Michael and Emily Eavis have said that the event will go bankrupt if it is forced to cancel again next year. They have also added their voices to those calling on the government to support the music and wider creative industries, and especially those people and companies who are facing urgent financial difficulties because of the ongoing COVID-19 shutdown.

The festival, Michael Eavis tells the Guardian, has financial reserves to see it through one cancellation – including covering its charitable commitments. However, he says, “we haven’t got unlimited resources”. And, while everyone hopes that the 2021 festival season will go ahead unhindered, no one really knows how long the impact of COVID-19 will continue to be felt.

“We have to run next year, otherwise we would seriously go bankrupt”, he goes on. “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”.

“We’ve navigated choppy waters so many times”, adds Emily Eavis. “This festival has always evolved and found ways to survive, and I’m confident that we will again”, she continued, adding that they have “drafted and modelled” four contingency plans if COVID-19 remains an issue next summer.

Many other events, artists and venues are facing much more urgent challenges as a result of COVID-19, she adds, before calling on the UK government to ensure that the live business does not collapse. Local authorities refunding licence fees for cancelled 2020 events, she says, “would offer a financial lifeline to many events”.

Beyond that, she continues: “The UK government is going to need to step up and support the British arts more broadly. This country’s venues, theatres, festivals, performers and crew bring so much to this country financially and culturally, but they need support now. Otherwise, I think we face the very real possibility of so many aspects of our culture disappearing forever”.

Glastonbury, of course, should have been celebrating its 50th anniversary this weekend. Speaking on BBC Radio 6 Music yesterday morning, Emily Eavis said that plans for next year are to roll as much of this year’s line-up over to 2021 as possible, while also squeezing in the things that were already planned for next year, resulting in a “double celebration”.

“We’re trying to transfer lots of the ideas and lots of the plans that we had to next year and in terms of areas I think we’re in a really good place”, she said. “Because we’re rolling two festivals together for 2021 we’ve got a hell of a lot of surprises and things that we were planning for the 50th and I think we’re going to try and get those things going for next year”.

“So logistically it’s a little bit complicated because we’d already pencilled in many, many of the acts for 2021”, she concluded. “It was one of those very unusual years where we were quite far ahead – two years ahead on the line-up”.