Coronavirus: Traders' fears over Glastonbury cancellation

By on March 20, 2020


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The Glastonbury Festival brings 200,000 people to Worthy Farm in Somerset

Traders and charities who support the Glastonbury Festival say they could “struggle to survive” after the event was cancelled due to coronavirus.

On Tuesday it was announced the festival had been postponed due to the virus outbreak.

About 200,000 ticket holders and workers attend the festival, providing an annual boost to the local economy.

Businesses, charities and community groups now face a significant loss of income.

Liz Hollinghurst has worked at Glastonbury for several years, and says the surrounding area faces a “scary” time.

“Butleigh Cricket Club, which I volunteer for, was going to be stewarding the Sticklinch camping area this summer,” she said.

“The impact on us as a club is massive, although we fully understand why the festival has been postponed.

“I’ve also got friends who help build and take down the festival, and that can start in April so they could lose as much as four months’ work.

“It’s a scary time for all of us.”

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Liz Hollinghurst

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Liz Hollinghurst has worked at Glastonbury for several years

Hannah Bennett, whose Rainbow Rebel stall sells sustainable clothing, said she understood the reasons for cancelling but feared for some fellow traders.

She said: “Like many other festival traders at this time of year, all our money is tied up in stock and paying pitch fees.

“Glastonbury is the ‘big one’, where we get seen by the most festival-goers which does lead to more online sales.

“It is a deeply worrying time where many businesses will not survive.”

After the government advised people to avoid mass gatherings on Monday, cancellation had appeared increasingly likely.

The decision was announced on Wednesday, with a Glastonbury statement saying: “We’re so sorry that this decision has been made. It was not through choice.”

Several charities supply volunteers to the festival in return for donations.

John Pawle, fundraising co-ordinator for North Somerset Samaritans, said the charity was expecting to raise £1,500 for providing stewards.

“That’s around 5% of our annual income,” said Mr Pawle. “We are also likely to lose other fundraising events so are looking at ways to try and fill the gap.”



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