Festival organisers 'heartbroken' after delay in easing covid restrictions

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The organisers of a three day festival in Kent say they are angered and frustrated as they following the cancellation of their event.

The Prime Minister's decision to delay the easing of restrictions until July 19th means the Black Deer in Tunbridge Wells can't go ahead at the end of this month.Van Morrison and Jake Bugg should have been performing but now the site is being dismantled.

The Government, with the support of most MPs, delayed easing restrictions for four weeks to prevent the spread of Covid-19

Despite testing for ticket holders, a reduced capacity and other events like the euros going ahead with fans.

  • Gill Tee and Deborah Shilling organise Black Deer Festival

17,000 tickets were sold for the festival with hundreds of suppliers and thousands of people reliant on working there over the weekend. The loss is estimated to be over £1 million.

The pushback of easing restrictions has affected other events such as Together Kent Festival in Maidstone's Mote Park, Southend Pride and Rochester Castle Concerts postponed.

Paul Reed from the Association of Independent Festivals says there is uncertainty in the events industry,

"The average cost of staging a festival is over £6 million and a lot of that cost does fall in the final month before the festival so without insurance, even festivals into mid-August and beyond are seriously considering their positions."

A government spokesperson said:

"We are continuing to work flat out to support festivals and live events. Our Events Research Programme is exploring how festivals can get back up and running safely, with a multi-day Download festival pilot this weekend, in addition to the Sefton Park pilot last month.

"Festival organisers have received more than £34 million from our unprecedented Culture Recovery Fund, with more support on the way. We are aware of the wider concerns about securing indemnity cover for live events and are exploring what further support may be required when the sector is able to reopen."

Black Deer say they've received no financial support but they are looking forward to returning in 2022.