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Cambridge Folk Festival and Big Weekend cancelled for 2021 due to pandemic




Cambridge Folk Festival will not go ahead this year, it has been confirmed.

Customers already with tickets will be offered a choice of a full refund or can roll their tickets forward to 2022 at 2020 prices.

Cambridge Folk Festival 2019. Picture - Richard Marsham
Cambridge Folk Festival 2019. Picture - Richard Marsham

The Big Weekend in Cambridge will not go ahead either this year due to the pandemic.

Cllr Anna Smith, executive city councillor for communities, said: “We had already decided to do the Big Weekend differently this year, and we have now reached the conclusion we will not be able to hold the Cambridge Folk Festival either.

“This has been an incredibly difficult decision, and it is not one any of us wanted to make.

Cambridge Folk Festival 2019. Picture: Richard Marsham
Cambridge Folk Festival 2019. Picture: Richard Marsham

“Together, these events bring tens of thousands of people to Cambridge, including hundreds of artists and music fans. They are a much-loved part of summers in the city.

“However, there is a great deal of uncertainty over how large-scale events might take place. Having explored every option, the reality is that we cannot sensibly continue to plan for these major events in 2021. Our first priority always has to be the health and safety of residents, audiences, staff, artists and contractors.”

Cambridge Folk Festival, held in the grounds of Cherry Hinton Hall, is one of the premiere folk festivals anywhere in the world and attracts an audience from far afield.

Cambridge Folk Festival 2019 - Nick Mulvey performs on Stage 1.Picture - Richard Marsham
Cambridge Folk Festival 2019 - Nick Mulvey performs on Stage 1.Picture - Richard Marsham

It was established by the city council and held annually since 1965, with traditional folk music acts mixing with Americana, blues and roots artists from around the world. It had been due to take place from Thursday, July 29 to Sunday, August 1.

Last year’s festival was converted to the ‘Cambridge Folk Festival at Home’.

The city council’s Big Weekend, held annually on Parker’s Piece during July, usually offers a mix of live music and stage acts, stalls, fireworks, games and educational activities, along with the Cambridge Mela. It attracts thousands of people and was also moved online in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Big Weekend 2019 on Parker's Piece. Picture: Keith Heppell
Big Weekend 2019 on Parker's Piece. Picture: Keith Heppell

This year, Cambridge City Council said it will organise a series of small-scale community events around the city, along with online events to help replace the missing events.

Cllr Smith said: “We all need something to look forward to, and I’m pleased to say we are hard at work on a programme of small-scale events for our neighbourhoods.

“Having fewer people in attendance will make it easier to manage safely even if we are required to keep social distancing in place alongside other safety measures.”

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