Glastonbury and more: The New Norm for Live Music

On January 21 2021, the official Twitter account for Glastonbury Festival announced the cancellation of the event which was due to take place from June 23-27. Releasing a statement alongside the tweet, they wrote:

Many headed to social media to share their take on it, including the likes of Annie Mac and Caitlin Moran. MP Julian Knight, who is chairing the DCMS committee that is overseeing an inquiry into the fate of music festivals during the pandemic, said on Twitter;

‘We have repeatedly called for Ministers to act to protect our world-renowned festivals like this one with a Government-backed insurance scheme. Our plea fell on deaf ears and now the chickens have come home to roost.’

Following the announcement, the organisers of the event have offered a £50 deposit to all original ticket holders who purchased tickets in 2019, securing them guaranteed spots with the choice to re-purchase or not for the rescheduled festival in 2022. Although no official announcement has been made regarding who would have performed at Glastonbury 2021, Micheal and Emily Eavis are clearly keen on a 2022 comeback, talking to The Gaurdian she said,

"A lot of big artists have been in touch offering to perform for us at the farm. We would love to build a show that can be watched at home by people all over the world."

With the loss of over £5m for the festival due to the cancellation last year, a live-streamed event is currently being considered and until further notice, the future of live music is still unknown. With ministers urging the government to create a new scheme to save live music as well as it's coordinators, Sacha Lord, co-founder of Parklife said;

“If the government don’t help with insurance then the smaller festivals are going to drop away. Social distancing does not work at any of these events. It’s a festival.”

US Artist Halsey, who's canceled tour ‘Manic’ was set to take place last year and was pushed back to summer 2021, released a statement on Twitter stating;

‘Safety is the priority. I wish things were different. I love you. Dreaming of seeing your faces again.’

With the UK heading towards vaccinating the country with the most vulnerable being priority and a target set at 14 million by mid-February, Dr Michael Head, Senior Research Fellow in Global Health at the University of Southampton warned that the necessary level of vaccination might not be reached until the end of summer. Talking to NME he said;

“We’d want a bare minimum of 50% of the population to be vaccinated [before festivals can happen], but probably more like 60%. That would probably take us towards the end of the summer at around August or September. If you were planning something very large like Glastonbury, I’d probably be waiting until next year for sure.”

With acts around the globe who had rescheduled their tours, many have been announcing cancellations. Live-streaming and Youtube broadcasts have become the new norm with musicians taking to social media platforms to debut not only pre-recorded sessions but live concert sets too. We do not know what the future holds just yet for live music, only hope.

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By Kristin Hurst

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