U.K. Train Strikes Mar Festival Weekend

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A woman waits with her suitcase in Victoria train station in London, United Kingdom, June 21, 2022. The biggest rail strikes in 30 years started on Monday night, June 20, with trains cancelled across the UK for much of the week. (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)

What is reportedly the biggest train strike in the U.K. in 30 years could cause the perfect storm for the country’s live biz, which is gearing up for one of the biggest weekends in live music with both Glastonbury and British Summer Time Hyde Park returning for the first time in three years.

The U.K.’s Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) had warned of the strike’s impact when it was first announced earlier this month, stating, “The transport infrastructure within the night time economy is vitally important to our recovery post pandemic, particularly as we move into peak summer season for festival and events, and a critical time for tourism, who rely heavily on public transport.”

Now that the trains are on strike, Jon Collins, CEO of LIVE, the country’s live entertainment trade body, issued the following: “This is one of the biggest weekends of the year for live music fans, with Glastonbury and British Summer Time both taking place for the first time in three years, due to the pandemic. However, fans and staff now face severe delays and potential safety risks as they are forced to choose alternative routes.

“While we recognise the legitimacy of this action, our sector is facing a perfect storm of fragile consumer confidence, rising costs, inflation, and supply chain issues, meaning we frankly cannot take the impact of further strikes threatened this autumn. On top of this week, any additional action will have hugely negative impacts on a sector that is already on a cliff-edge.”

While one of the operating train companies has stated, that it plans to maintain timetabled trains between London Paddington and Castle Cary, the nearest station to the Glastonbury Festival site, but that might change, and other parts of the rail network may be more affected.

Because of this, the organizers of Glastonbury are anticipating additional traffic heading to the Festival, and have informed visitors about how to mitigate the congestion on the festival’s online outlets. The U.K. press has already reported early arrivals, who came by train yesterday, Monday, June 20, in anticipation of today’s strike. The Glastonbury Festival site opens tomorrow, Wednesday, 8 a.m. local time.

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