'No chance of rescheduling' - July events in jeopardy if lockdown extended

Scenes from the 2017 Folk in a Field Festival. Picture: ADAM LAZZARI

Folk in a Field Festival is due to take place in west Norfolk from July 2 to 4, but if the June 21 lockdown end is extended it may not be viable to go ahead.  - Credit: Archant

The organisers of Norfolk's summer events are in limbo as they wait to find out whether lockdown restrictions will be lifted fully on June 21. 

Ministers and officials are currently assessing the latest data to see if easing can go ahead amid rising cases of the Indian variant. 

Latitude 2018.
Picture: Nick Butcher

Latitude Festival, just across the border, is set to run at full capacity in July. - Credit: Nick Butcher

A two-week delay until July 5 is reported to be under discussion, but this would be after the Folk in a Field Festival in Bradmoor Woods in West Acre, scheduled for July 2 to 4.

The award-winning festival normally welcomes around 1,500 people, but with social distancing it may not be viable to go ahead.

Luke Horncastle, founder, said: "I've got no chance of rescheduling and the annoying thing is the evidence shown at the trial festival [held in Sefton Park in Liverpool] was that there was little to no transmission and they are just as safe as going to a pub or restaurant - if they can continue why can't we?

West Acre estate woodsman Luke Horncastle founded the Folk in a Field festival. Picture: Matthew Ush

Luke Horncastle, founder of Folk in a Field Festival in West Acre. - Credit: Matthew Usher

"If we did go ahead with restrictions it would be completely different and hugely expensive for extra staff costs and may not be viable financially."

If lockdown was extended by a month, it would impact Latitude Festival across the border in Henham Park, scheduled for July 22 to 25, which welcomes up to 40,000 people each year and is set to run at full capacity with on-site testing. 

Peter Jay with his son Jack Jay at the Hippodrome Circus in Great Yarmouth.December 2014.Picture: Ja

Peter Jay with his son Jack Jay at the Hippodrome Circus in Great Yarmouth.December 2014.Picture: James Bass - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2014

The Hippodrome Circus in Great Yarmouth has been putting on socially distanced shows since last summer, but the owners were hoping the Summer Circus and Water Spectacular, running from July 7 until September 19, would see things go back to normal.

Peter Jay, who has run the circus since 1979, said: "With the big summer show we really need to be back at full capacity.

"We have hedged our bets and for July we are currently selling socially distanced tickets, but are hoping to release some more on June 21."

Dippy the Dinosaur is coming to Norwich. 

Dippy the Dinosaur is coming to Norwich. - Credit: Trustees of the Natural History Museum

For other events like Dippy the Dinosaur at Norwich Cathedral, running from July 13 until October 30, the impact of a delay would be minimal.

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The Rev Canon Aidan Platten said: "It was clear in the beginning June 21 was a not before date and we have planned around that so everything can go ahead with the current regulations in place."