Music festival falls victim to the lockdown push back

BIRD’S EYE VIEW: From the clock tower at Trinity Theatre
EXIT STAGE: Black Deer is cancelled

The announcement came after Prime Minister Boris Johnson pushed back the planned ending of all Covid restrictions from June 21 to July 19 on Monday [June 14].

The Americana music festival, first held in 2018, was due to run from June 25-27. Thousands of music fans were expected to descend on Eridge Park. But Covid restrictions mean it could only go ahead by limiting numbers to 4,000.

It is the second time the festival has had to be postponed, with 2020’s event rescheduled to this year due to Covid.

Acts including Van Morrison and former Led Zeppelin frontman Robert Plant had been expected to draw a crowd of up to 20,000 people, but in a statement organisers said on Tuesday [June 15]: “We can’t quite put into words how we are feeling right now.

“The delay by the Government on the easing of restrictions means we’re unable to bring you Black Deer Festival 2021.

“It’s devastating news for all connected with Black Deer. But we’ll be back in 2022. We’ll soon be sharing the next steps for Black Deer Festival 2022 with all you wonderful ticket-holders who stuck with us. We’ll be in touch very soon.”

Gill Tee, co-founder of the event, said she was ‘beyond devastated’ by the postponement and the festival had already sold 10,000 tickets.

She said: “We are devastated that this has happened. We can’t proceed on a 4,000 capacity as we have already sold over 10,000 tickets.

“All our suppliers and the team that worked so hard to put this in place, it is a massive blow to all of us.”


But Pub in the Park is still set to go ahead

Also due to take place over the next four weeks is Pub in the Park.

The food festival, organised by TV chef Tom Kerridge, is scheduled for the weekend of July 9-11 at Dunorlan Park.

Organisers say it will go ahead and is ‘socially distanced with Covid safety measures in place’, but previous events have seen around 17,000 people flock to Dunorlan Park over the three days, so there may have to be a reduction in visitor numbers to adhere to the rules.


TW Fringe

The inaugural TW Fringe is also scheduled for July. The event, which will see everything from opera to drama, dance and comedy performed over two weeks in the town, is due to go ahead.

Organiser Debbie King said: “We are indeed going ahead. There might be a couple of things changed but that’s all.”


Local & Live

Large indoor performances and sporting events do allow a capacity of 1,000 people or half usual audiences, whichever is smaller.

It is hoped restrictions will have been completely eased before the August Bank Holiday weekend when the town’s Local & Live music festival is set to take place after a year’s absence.


Royal Tunbridge Wells Parkrun

Other events affected by the delay to lifting restrictions include the Tunbridge Wells Parkrun.

Parkrun organisers have said all events, including the Dunorlan Park 5km run, will not return in England until at least July 24 after the Government postponed the lifting of pandemic restrictions. The free 5km Saturday morning runs were due to restart on June 26.


Pubs, Bars and Restaurants

The town’s pubs, bars and restaurants will be forced to stick to current rules, including maintaining social distancing of one metre-plus, until at least the rescheduled date for the easing of restrictions.


Parliamentary Vote

On Wednesday [June 16], MPs voted by 461 to 60 to delay to the easing of restrictions in Parliament, despite lockdown-sceptic MPs on the Tory backbenches rebelling. The majority of the Labour Party under Sir Keir Starmer backed the Government’s delay.

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