Kendal Calling Festival has been postponed for a second year running

Virgin Radio

21 Jun 2021, 10:32

Whilst the success of the Download Pilot Festival at the weekend has given us all hope that we’ll be able to hang out in a field listening to our favourite bands this summer, the harsh reality that many events may not take place has been made clear by the cancellation of Kendal Calling.

Download took place in front of 10,000 fans with no social-distancing or masks, as part of the second phase of the Government’s scientific Events Research Programme. However, just as the festival is being hailed as a huge success, Kendal Calling has been called off again, in a move that its bosses have described as “heartbreaking.”

The music and arts festival was supposed to be taking place in the Lake District at the end of July, with Supergrass, Blossoms and Stereophonics amongst the artists performing. However, in a statement on their website today (June 21st), Kendal’s organisers said, “Last Monday saw the delay of the so-called ‘Freedom Day’. As Kendal Calling sits outside of this delay we would still be in a strong position to proceed. But Monday also saw a less publicised delay; the release of the long-awaited research from the Event Research Programme (ERP) and with it, crucially, the publication of safety guidance on how we run events.

“Without this safety guidance, there are numerous aspects of the festival we cannot plan, and which could lay us wide open to last minute unforeseen regulations or requirements which could scupper an already built festival. Capacity or density restrictions, track and trace protocol, testing regime, covid certification – a host of unknown actions required yet potentially requested too late to be implemented.” 

The statement went on to tell disappointed fans, “We wish that we were able to bring you better news, however it breaks our hearts to tell you that our fifteenth birthday celebrations are postponed once again. Postponing in 2020 was sad but understandable. Postponing in 2021 is heart-breaking. Infuriating.”

Further explaining the decision to postpone, Kendal’s bosses said, “Our understanding is that the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) are keen to publish the ERP findings and guidance, but that it now does not fit around No.10’s communications plan. This is insulting to our entire industry, who have been awaiting the results of a pilot event that took place almost 2 months ago to inform our approach to staging events safely this summer.

“Please believe me when I say that we tried our best. Despite Kendal Calling having been denied any aid from the Cultural Recovery Fund, Restart Grant or the Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund we have worked harder than ever with a clear goal in mind – to experience the joy and love that the fields we know so well are famous for. I think we speak for us all when I say – we needed this.”

The festival will now take place from 28-31 July 2022. Any tickets will automatically roll over to next year’s festival. Any ticket-holders who can’t make the new dates will be able to get a refund.