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Fears for King's Lynn festivals as coronavirus continues to hit events sector




Organisers of Lynn's biggest summer arts and music events are bracing themselves for another year of disruption and uncertainty because of coronavirus.

Members of the committee behind Festival Too are set to hold crunch talks in the next few days, which could determine whether the event is cancelled for the second successive year.

Meanwhile, the launch of the King's Lynn Festival has also been delayed, with officials warning it will be a smaller event than normal in 2021 - if it can go ahead at all.

Festival Too crowds(31948715)
Festival Too crowds(31948715)

Several major events have already been lost to the pandemic this year, including Lynn's Mart, the Royal Norfolk Show and the Sandringham Flower Show.

And last week's announcement that the Glastonbury music festival is being cancelled for a second successive year intensified fears for the future of that sector.

Festival Too was called off for the first time in its 36 year history last March, just days before the imposition of the first coronavirus lockdown.

At the time, organisers said it would be inappropriate to proceed with the event, which usually runs over three weekends and traditionally attracts thousands of music fans to King Staithe Square and the Tuesday Market Place, because of the public health emergency.

Committee chairman Abbie Panks this week confirmed they would be meeting next week to discuss their options for 2021.

Meanwhile, the team behind the King's Lynn Festival would normally be gearing up for the launch of their programme in February.

But, although the 70th festival is still currently scheduled to take place from July 18 to 31, there will be no announcement of a potential line-up until the spring in the hope of increasing the chance of events going ahead in line with Covid restrictions.

It is also likely there will be fewer shows than usual, while concerts are expected to take place at either the King's Lynn Minster, St Nicholas Chapel or All Saints' Church, Hillington Square, for social distancing reasons.

Festival chairman Alison Croose said: “We have to take into account the uncertainty of the Covid situation in July which will influence audiences’ appetite for returning to a concert venue.

“It is a major commitment booking top-flight musicians and we cannot afford to take big risks.

“Even though the festival programme will not feature as many events this year, one thing is certain – there will be no diminution of the quality with the involvement of many world-famous names.”

The 70th Festival exhibition is due to be staged in the Fermoy Gallery and Red Barn in the courtyard of St George’s Guildhall and is hoped will be open to visitors for at least three weeks.

Mrs Croose added that another series of short concerts is to be filmed in Lynn venues and released for streaming in the spring and early summer.



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