Great Britain

Festival cancellations in 2021 could have been avoided, and the government is to blame


t will have come as no surprise (to anyone with a grain of common sense) that Glastonbury 2021 was not to be. Of course, we could hope. But if you’d been paying any attention at all to the events of the past year, it was easy to see that this staple of British culture – the most famous music festival in the world – was going to become the latest casualty of the pandemic.

It didn’t have to be this way. In Wuhan, where the virus was first detected, a viral (for want of a better word) photo in August 2020 showed young people enjoying a packed-out music festival held at a water park. This didn't mean things were back to normal in the Chinese city, however. It meant that because enough precautions were being taken, because people were being sensible, and because strict enough measures were being enforced, officials were able to allow such a gathering to take place.

Meanwhile, in the UK, coronavirus continues to wreak havoc on our economy, on our NHS, and on the things that – for as little value as the government places on them – make our lives better and brighter. I can’t begin to express how disheartening it is – as a music critic and as a fan – to see the artists I love forced to put their creativity on hold because of the decisions of the tone-deaf elite. Politicians are notoriously rubbish when it comes to popular culture, but it really is astonishing how this government seems to actively despise the arts.

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