‘Not Through Choice’: Glastonbury Cancels 50th Anniversary Edition 2020

The Glastonbury festival site stretches across 1,000 acres
Jason Bryant
– The Glastonbury festival site stretches across 1,000 acres
It comes as no surprise at this point. Glastonbury announced the cancellation of this year’s festival, which was supposed to take place June 24-28 and celebrate the event’s 50-year history.
“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,” organizers Michael and Emily Eavis wrote in a statement on Glastonbury’s website. “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.”
The UK government has changed its stance on the threat of coronavirus over the past couple days. On March 12, it had raised the risk level to high.  While it has still not banned public gatherings, it has made recommendations that include avoiding unnecessary social contact.
The Eavises hope that the situation in the UK will have improved by the end of June, when Glastonbury was scheduled.
“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,” the statement said.
About 135,000 people have already paid a £50 deposit for a Glastonbury 2020 ticket. The balance payments on those tickets were due at the beginning of April, and the festival’s organization wanted to make a decision before then about whether the event would take place.
Since ticket holders are picked from a vast pool of applicants, and securing a Glastonbury ticket is a gamble for fans each year, those who got lucky in 2020 will be able to automatically roll their £50 deposit over to next year, guaranteeing the opportunity to buy a ticket for Glastonbury 2021.
Refunds can be requested from Glastonbury’s exclusive ticketing partner See Tickets in the coming days, an option that will remain available until September. For those who are happy to roll their deposit over, that will happen automatically. Further information will be added to the Glastonbury 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,” Glastonbury’s statement said. “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.
“We were so looking forward to welcoming you all for our 50th anniversary with a lineup full of fantastic artists and performers that we were incredibly proud to have booked,” it continued. “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.”
The UK government has pledged to make £330 billion ($400 billion) in bank loans available to businesses in need. How much of that money will be funneled to the creative sectors was unclear at press time.