Festivals face 'grave' future if cancelled in 2021 Parklife organiser says

The UK's music festival landscape faces a "grave" future if the 2021 season is cancelled, organisers have warned.

Sacha Lord, co-founder of Manchester's Parklife, said workers would permanently move to other industries, and smaller festivals would disappear, following more Covid-19 cancellations.

He was speaking to MPs examining the difficulty many music festivals face after coronavirus restrictions led to widespread cancellations in 2020, including Glastonbury and TRNSMT.

The Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee was looking at how Government policy could support festivals due to take place this coming summer.

Parklife in Manchester regularly attracts around 75,000 people. Credit: PA Images

Lord, who is also Greater Manchester's night time economy adviser, said coronavirus had "absolutely decimated" his festival, its suppliers and freelance staff.

Parklife festival, which attracts around 75,000 attendees a year, has been delayed until September 2021 - with more than 250 artists and suppliers have already been booked.

"If we have got another year like 2020, we have got serious problems," Lord said of the risk involved in making those commitments.

Lord called for a government backed cancellation scheme to support music festivals, adding that insurance premiums could mean festivals aren't viable without government backing.

Lord also warned that mass testing and vaccination was the only way forward.

He told MPs "Social distancing does not work at any of these events. It's a festival. You just cannot put social distancing in place, so we are anticipating that we will be operating at 100%."Lord, who is also co-founder of the Warehouse Project superclub in Manchester, added the UK risked falling behind Europe if action was not taken.