Womad 2021 festival cancelled amid Covid uncertainty, Peter Gabriel confirms

Organisers have confirmed that this year’s Womad festival has been cancelled.

Last week, a plea had been made to the government for support for the event, due to take place at Charlton Park near Malmesbury next month.

It had been said the festival was on the “brink of collapse” without proper insurance support.

Today (June 28), the decision was made to cancel Womad 2021.

People can claim refunds or have their tickets rollover until next year.

 Former Genesis vocalist Peter Gabriel, who co-founded the world music festival Womad in 1980, said: “It is with great regret that we are cancelling WOMAD ’21 today. 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.

“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.”

“Since the government decision to extend the Phase 3 restrictions by at least four weeks (to July 19, 72 hours before Womad should open its gates) we have been seeking urgent clarification from the DCMS and Public Health England as to what this means for large scale events such as Womad.

“Whilst the Prime Minister and his colleagues say there will be no restrictions on society at that point, we have been unable to get any confirmation of what the plan is.

“Nor is there any clarity on how what is being learned from the Event Research Program might affect the guidance for festivals and how they are required to operate.”

Several major festivals, including Glastonbury and BST Hyde Park, have also been axed for the second year running.

Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard:

Womad 2021 had been poised to take place on Thursday July 22 to Sunday July 25.

The festival typically gives an annual boost to Malmesbury’s economy.

Gabriel added: “It is the lack of government backed insurance along with these actions that have forced Womad to cancel.

“We have not been asking for financial support; all we have wanted is certainty in the form of insurance against cancellation (that we’d be happy to pay for). We need an understanding of the realities of how our industry works and the benefits that we bring.

“The industry should see equal access to support and a much less opaque way of deciding who gets help. 

“It does seem a little bizarre that a five-day camping event at Silverstone is a risk worth taking and independent festivals alas are not. With 140,000 people attending the Silverstone Grand Prix it certainly doesn’t seem to be supported by science – as even Lewis Hamilton has commented.

Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard:

“At Womad, we are indebted to our audiences, artists, and suppliers for the love and support we have received, which has only increased as we have tried to climb the mountain that kept growing in front of us. 

“We hope you will continue to hang in there with us, and as for options of ticket refunds or rollovers to 2022, we hope as many of you as possible will consider rolling your tickets over to join us next year from 28 – 31st July 2022. It’s easy, do nothing and your ticket will automatically roll over. 

“Womad 2022 here we come.”

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