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Y Not becomes latest UK festival to cancel due to lack of government guidance

By | Published on Friday 2 July 2021

Y Not Festival

Y Not Festival has become the latest to call off its 2021 edition, due to a lack of guidance and insurance from the UK government. The event was supposed to take place from 29 Jul to 1 Aug.

“We have been placed in an extremely awkward position”, say organisers. “We are yet to receive the government’s guidance from their pilot schemes and the lack of a government-backed insurance package, amidst rising COVID cases both locally and nationally, makes us unable to fully commit to the next stages of planning needed for this year’s [festival] without greatly risking the future of the event”.

They went on to say that they had tried “everything possible to make this year’s festival a reality”. This included applying to be part of the government’s ongoing Events Research Programme – which would have provided support in the event of a last minute cancellation – but Y Not was not selected as one of the events to be involved in the next round of pilots.

The decision to cancel had to be made now, they went on, because next week they were scheduled to begin building the festival site.

“We now find ourselves in a position where we are unable to commit to the build of the site, as we have no solid guarantee of [the festival] being allowed to take place”, they say. “Despite positive government rhetoric, there is still little information we can rely on. With further delays being a possibility and no guarantees from the government, everything we have built over the last fifteen years could be lost if we carry on this year”.

This is just the latest in a string of music festivals forced to cancel their 2021 events due to a lack of support and guidance from the government. That this is happening – and continues to happen – cannot be a surprise to anyone, including ministers, anymore. Which does now imply that it is active and deliberate government policy to allow this year’s festival season to almost entirely collapse.

Some festivals have been provided a level of support to go ahead by being included in the Events Research Programme, but that is a very small minority. Also, given that the live industry was expecting to have received guidance on safe opening by 21 Jun – the original target date for full capacity shows returning – it’s little comfort that this small lifeline is still in place.

Tickets for Y Not can be rolled over to next year’s festival, which will take place on 28-31 Jul. Refunds will also be available.