The Kendal Calling music festival has canceled its 2021 edition due to a lack of government guidance.
The organizers said the lack of a government-sponsored insurance system and the delay in the publication of the results of the Events Research Program (ERP) contributed to the “heartbreaking” decision.
They urged the government to “rethink its approach” and “listen to the recommendations of their own reports”.
Kendal Calling was scheduled to take place at Lowther Deer Park in the Lake District from July 29 to August 1, with headliners such as Stereophonics and Dizzee Rascal, after it was canceled due to the 2020 pandemic.
This meant that after the government’s decision to postpone the end of social distancing to July 19, Kendal Calling might still be able to carry on.
The reasons for the postponement for a second year in a row, to July 2022, were justified by the festival directors in a letter to the ticket holders.
They said: “Last Monday, the so-called ‘Freedom Day’ was postponed.
“With Kendal Calling sitting outside of this delay, we would still be in a strong position to continue.
“But there was also a lesser-known delay on Monday; the publication of the long-awaited research results from the pilot events of the Event Research Program (ERP), which would enable the publication of important new security guidelines for the implementation of events.
“Without these safety warnings, there are numerous aspects of the festival that we cannot plan and that could open us wide to unforeseen regulations or last-minute requirements that we may have to comply with that could destroy a festival that has already been built.”
Organizers said the 2020 cancellation was “sad but understandable,” but the same thing this year was both “heartbreaking” and “angry”.
They claimed it was decided to “hold back” the ERP report, which was “offensive to our entire industry.”
In the letter, organizers said they were invited last week to apply for the next phase of the government’s pilot program of live events that the festival would have made possible, but on Saturday evening they were told that another camping festival was selected has been.
The heavy metal festival Download took place at Donington Park in Leicestershire with reduced capacity as part of the program, with additional pilot events expected to be announced next month.
Kendal Calling bosses said the lack of a government-sponsored insurance system in the event of cancellations was also a factor in their decision.
“If the demands for a state-sponsored insurance system had been respected, we might have been able to continue in the coming weeks,” they said.
“We take this opportunity to urge the government to reconsider its approach and to listen to the recommendations of their own reports.”
A spokesman for the Ministry of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport said: “We are still working flat out to support festivals and live events, including through our ongoing event research program.
“Festival organizers have received more than £ 34 million from our unprecedented Culture Recovery Fund, with more funding en route to a £ 300 million budget increase.
“We are aware of the broader concerns about the guarantee of damages and we are looking at what further assistance may be needed if the sector can reopen.”
Last month, the Digital, Culture, Media and Sports Committee warned that UK festivals would face a “lost summer” due to the government’s decision not to put in place a coronavirus insurance system.
Kendal Calling will now take place from July 28th to July 31st, 2022.