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Womad music festival cancelled to ‘guarantee its survival’

Womad was due to take place from July 22 (Zak Hussein/PA)
Womad was due to take place from July 22 (Zak Hussein/PA)

The Womad music festival has been cancelled, organisers have announced.

The cancellation comes after Genesis musician Peter Gabriel, who co-founded the event, warned last week that the festival industry stood “on the brink of collapse”.

In a statement on Monday, he said this year’s festival could not go ahead without Government-backed insurance or inclusion in the pilot events scheme.

“Without the simple support of a government insurance scheme or the guarantee of Test Event status, we cannot continue and put Womad’s long-term future at risk,” he said.

“We feel that our audience, artists, staff, and contractors, who have been amazingly supportive throughout all this, will understand the need for us to act to guarantee our survival.”

The festival was due to take place from July 22.

Music Industry Trust Awards – London
Peter Gabriel warned that the festival industry stood ‘on the brink of collapse’ (Ian West/PA)

Earlier this month, Download Festival went ahead with around 10,000 music fans at the rock and metal music event in Leicestershire – although the capacity was significantly reduced from its normal attendance of 111,000.

The festival was a Government pilot event for the return of live music.

A number of festivals including Glastonbury and Kendal Calling have previously announced they will not be going ahead this year due to the pandemic.

Mass events are currently scheduled to be allowed to take place from July 19 when coronavirus restrictions ease.

A Government spokeswoman said: “We are continuing to work towards live events being able to reopen fully from July 19 as well as providing unprecedented support for the culture sector.

“Womad has benefited from almost £250,000 of taxpayer help through our Culture Recovery Fund, alongside a range of other music festivals.”

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