The U.K.’s Glastonbury music festival has been canceled in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.
Festival organizers confirmed Wednesday morning that the 50th edition of the iconic fest, which was set to take place from June 24-28, would have to be called off. It will return in 2021.
This year’s headline acts included Taylor Swift, Paul McCartney and Kendrick Lamar, while Diana Ross, Fatboy Slim, Dua Lipa, Primal Scream and the Manic Street Preachers were also slated to perform. The fest had been bullish about plans to go ahead despite coronavirus fears until as late as last week, when it added a number of performers to the line-up. Its full line-up was to be unveiled in May.
In a statement, festival founder Michael Eavis and daughter Emily Eavis said: “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.
“We very much hope that the situation in the U.K. will have improved enormously by the end of June. 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 festival said 135,000 people have already paid £50 ($59) deposits for Glastonbury 2020 tickets. Because balance payments on those tickets were due at the beginning of April, a decision was required ahead of that time.
A general admission ticket to Glastonbury, one the world’s most pre-eminent musical festival, costs £265 ($315). This year’s tickets went on sale in October and sold out in 34 minutes, with more than 2.4 million people registering for the event.
Organizers have promised that those who paid deposits will be able to roll them over to 2021 “and guarantee the opportunity to buy a ticket for Glastonbury 2021.”
“Those who would prefer a refund of that £50 will be able to contact See Tickets in the coming days in order to secure that. This option will remain available until September this year. For those who are happy to roll their deposit over, that will happen automatically.”
The festival added that details on rolling over coach packages, official accommodation bookings and local Sunday tickets will be added to the website this week.
“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,” said Michael Eavis and Emily Eavis.
“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.”
The cancellation of Glastonbury follows on from similar coronavirus-related disruptions to California’s Coachella and Stagecoach music festivals; however, the latter fests were postponed to October rather than outright canceled.