Glastonbury Festival 2021 Is (Probably) Going to Happen

Technological advances could make large-scale gatherings possible by next summer.
October 27, 2020, 12:59pm
Photo: Chris Bethell 

Good news for fans of “Glasto”, it looks as though the festival is going ahead next year. While nothing is certain at this stage in the pandemic, it’s at least a positive sign that the organisers haven’t ruled it out.

Ben Challis, the festival’s official lawyer, has announced that the event will take place, with work beginning on the site in March next year. He told the Behind the Noise podcast: “For 2021 we will have to start building in March, or the end of March because its a big festival and it takes a lot to build, and no one wants to do a ‘light Glastonbury’. The plan would be to rebook the 2020 bill, it will move everything, including our 50th-anniversary celebration to 2021.”

This year’s Glastonbury, cancelled due to COVID, marked the festival’s fiftieth year and was set to be a particularly spectacular event. The headliners booked were Kendrick Lamar, Paul McCartney, and Taylor Swift, with Diana Ross playing the legend’s slot. Hopefully, the festival will be able to secure a similarly stellar line-up next year.

According to Challis, very few people opted to get a refund this year, with most preferring to save their ticket for future use. By next year, there are promising signs that it may be possible to offer rapid, on-site testing, which would make large-scale gatherings a possibility. According to a report in The Guardian earlier this month, “thermo scanners, interactive wristbands that vibrate to mark a lack of social distancing, and rapid on-site testing are all being considered by music festivals to ensure the 2021 season goes ahead despite the Covid-19 crisis.”

UPDATE 28/10/20: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that the Edinburgh Fringe would not be taking place in 2021. Organisers say they are in fact planning for 2021. We regret the error.