A few days ago, I wrote an article about how Glastonbury released its first lineup for this year’s festival, and I expressed hope that the coronavirus pandemic would die down in time for the last weekend of June. I even gave a shout-out to one of Mel Brooks’ more obscure films to express some cautious optimism. It turned out that optimism was cowardice. Mere days after announcing the news, just before 6 AM, a bit less than 36 hours after I wrote my article about it, they cancelled the festival.
To quote the entire statement:
We are so sorry to announce this, but Glastonbury 2020 will have to be cancelled, and this will be an enforced fallow year for the Festival.
Clearly this was not a course of action we hoped to take for our 50th anniversary event, but following the new government measures announced this week – and in times of such unprecedented uncertainty – this is now our only viable option.
We very much hope that the situation in the UK will have improved enormously by the end of June. But even if it has, we are no longer able to spend the next three months with thousands of crew here on the farm, helping us with the enormous job of building the infrastructure and attractions needed to welcome more than 200,000 people to a temporary city in these fields.
We would like to send our sincere apologies to the 135,000 people who have already paid a deposit for a Glastonbury 2020 ticket. The balance payments on those tickets were due at the beginning of April and we wanted to make a firm decision before then.
We understand that it is not always easy to secure a Glastonbury ticket, which is why we would like to offer all those people the chance to roll their £50 deposit over to next year, and guarantee the opportunity to buy a ticket for Glastonbury 2021. Those who would prefer a refund of that £50 will be able to contact See Tickets in the coming days in order to secure that. This option will remain available until September this year. For those who are happy to roll their deposit over, that will happen automatically. Further information – including details on rolling over coach packages, official accommodation bookings and local Sunday tickets – will be added to our website in the coming days.
The cancellation of this year’s Festival will no doubt come as a terrible blow to our incredible crew and volunteers who work so hard to make this event happen. There will also inevitably be severe financial implications as a result of this cancellation – not just for us, but also the Festival’s charity partners, suppliers, traders, local landowners and our community. [Note from the author: there’s reports that the financial losses as a result of this could be as high as £100 million.]
We were so looking forward to welcoming you all for our 50th anniversary with a line-up full of fantastic artists and performers that we were incredibly proud to have booked. Again, we’re so sorry that this decision has been made. It was not through choice. But we look forward to welcoming you back to these fields next year and until then, we send our love and support to all of you.
Michael & Emily
Of course, whether or not there will even be much of a ticket sale for next year’s Glastonbury, with as many ticketbuyers likely to take advantage of this resale. Whether or not the lineup I gave a shout-out to will be a part of the 2021 festival remains up in the air. And due to the nature of the cancellation, especially as Coachella, SXSW, and even Eurovision are being cancelled, I can’t expect there to be much of a replacement festival. Many artists have decided to try and livestream gigs online, but the sheer scale of Glastonbury makes me wonder if there would even be much of a point in creating a virtual festival. It would probably have been tempting to wonder if, since Danny Brown and The Avalanches were both on the bill, Danny might have joined the band for a performance of “Frankie Sinatra”:
Then again, it’s not like I actually had tickets to the festival, and even if I did, I probably wouldn’t be able to see it because there’d be tens of thousands of people with the same idea as I, vying for as good a look as possible, especially after hearing Adele talk about the… unprintable things that people can do to get a good look at the Pyramid Stage.
In addition, the BBC made a statement just after Glastonbury made theirs, saying: “We, along with the Eavis family, are saddened that understandably, the Glastonbury Festival can’t take place. We are already looking forward to next year’s festival at Worthy Farm and will now look at providing our audiences with a celebration of Glastonbury in June.” The statement is signed Lorna Clarke, Controller of Pop Music, BBC.
So, in conclusion, I ask our readers to…