THE arts, faith, and justice festival, Greenbelt, will not take place this year, the latest in a range of events to be called off because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The festival had been scheduled to take place, as usual, over the August Bank Holiday weekend at Boughton House, in Northamptonshire.
The festival’s organisers announced on Tuesday, however, that they had taken the “crushing decision” to call it off. It will be the first time in the festival’s 46-year history that it has not taken place.
A message to supporters said: “We’re going to have to wait another year until we can celebrate the 47th Greenbelt. That’s because we’ve had to take the crushing decision to cancel this year’s festival. It probably won’t come as a surprise, but it doesn’t make it feel any better. Obviously we would never have gone ahead if there had ever been the slightest risk to anyone’s health and safety.”
It continued: “It’s a postponement in some ways, because we hope to bring along as many of the artists, thinkers and activists to next year’s festival as we can, and by acting now we can safeguard Greenbelt in 2021. . .
“For lots of us, the festival is part of the annual fabric of our lives, and it will feel very strange not to meet again this August at Boughton.
“But we’ve always said Greenbelt is about more than four days in a field. It’s about making spaces where all the things we cherish can co-exist, and we’re still going to be doing that this year. We’re still going to be somewhere to believe in during the long days of lockdown and beyond.”
Greenbelt will contact ticket-holders, who can opt either to receive a full refund, to have their tickets roll over until next year, or to donate the cost of this year’s ticket to the festival.
Other Christian events that have been cancelled because of Covid-19 include the annual Passion play on Good Friday in Trafalgar Square, the Walsingham Youth Pilgrimage, and Spring Harvest (News, 9 April). New Wine, the Keswick Convention, and the Big Church Day Out have also been called off (News, 27 March).