Ireby Festival cancels next year’s event and won’t return until 2022

by Sam Warrenger
Generic festival crowd couple

Organisers of folk-favourite Ireby Music Festival, establised in the northern fells of the Lake District for almost two decades, have taken the decision to again postpone their 18th-edition until May 2022.

Originally set for May 2020, Ireby was one of the first festivals to announce it wouldn’t take place this year due to the pandemic, with the news coming way back in early March – weeks ahead of the national lockdown.

Expecting the pandemic to continue in England well into 2021, the Ireby Festival Comittee considered Cumbria Constabulary will not allow festivals to happen “for the foreseeable future” and that large gatherings scheduled for early next year were already being postponed.

They also noted concerns around health and safety in confined spaces on-site, such as the festival marquee, and the ongoing impact of the pandemic on ticket sales, while confirming the dates for Ireby 2022 will be Friday 27th and Saturday 28th May.

The full statement issued reads: “With the continuing uncertainty surrounding the pandemic and its predicted existence in the UK well into 2021, Ireby Festival Committee have discussed the situation regarding Covid19. With great sadness, due to prevailing and predicted conditions, the decision has been taken to postpone the Ireby Festival scheduled for May 2021. 

“In reaching this decision the Committee have taken into consideration the Government statements as to the possibility of a second wave of the pandemic as well as the statements given regarding gatherings in confined spaces, such as the festival marquee.  Government guidance is that mass gatherings should not take place.  We note that other events taking place in Cumbria during the remainder of 2020 have been cancelled.  Cumbria Constabulary will not give consent for festivals for the foreseeable future.  Other indications are that large gatherings scheduled for the first quarter of 2021 have been postponed until the summer.

“The safety of artists, visitors, volunteers and the community in and around Ireby, remains our first priority. In addition, individual concerns over personal health & safety will no doubt impact the sale of festival tickets during the critical period that commences in September 2020.  The festival would, in the normal event, be largely sold out by the end of December. The uncertainty this causes exposes the festival to serious financial risk should ticket sales not achieve expected levels.

“As a festival, we take seriously our obligations to ticket holders and artists alike, we have not taken the decision lightly but feel we have little choice in the postponement. 

“We would like to welcome all festival goers on 27 & 28 May 2022.”

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