What UK Events Are Cancelled Because Of Coronavirus Concerns?
As the number of COVID-19 cases continues to rise, the government has launched an action plan detailing how the country will cope, announcing on 16 March that all mass gatherings should be avoided. The list of events to be postponed or cancelled is growing, including several major fixtures in the coming months.
From big festivals and sporting events, to local elections, here’s a rundown of the UK events that are being cancelled and postponed.
Political Events In The UK
Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced on March 13 that local elections and the London mayoral vote which had been due to take place in May would be postponed until 2021.
In a statement given to the Evening Standard, a Number 10 spokesperson said: "We will bring forward legislation to postpone local, mayoral and Police and Crime Commissioner elections until May next year.
"We will also work with the devolved administrations to ensure that they have the necessary powers to do the same."
Parliament has cancelled scheduled Brexit talks amid the pandemic. The second round of trade negotiations between the UK and Europe was planned to take place in London, per the Financial Times. “More than a hundred trade experts from Brussels were due to arrive in London,” the publication reports.
In a joint statement, representatives of the UK & EU said: “Given the latest COVID-19 developments, UK and EU negotiators have today jointly decided not to hold next week’s round of negotiations in London, in the form originally scheduled.”
Music: Gigs, Concerts & Festivals
When Glastonbury organisers last week defied the odds and announced the line-up for their 50th anniversary festival, 200,00+ ticket holders held their breaths to see whether the show would actually go on. But sadly it wasn’t to be, with Michael and Emily Eavis breaking the news on Wednesday March 18 that this year’s festival would have to be cancelled with tickets rolling over onto 2021’s event.
“Clearly this was not a course of action we hoped to take for our 50th anniversary event,” they wrote. “We very much hope that the situation in the UK will have improved enormously by the end of June. But even if it has, we are no longer able to spend the next three months with thousands of crew here on the farm, helping us with the enormous job of building the infrastructure and attractions needed to welcome more than 200,000 people to a temporary city in these fields.”
Eurovision Song Contest
It’s one of the biggest dates in the pop music calendar, but as the World Health Organisation director general states that Europe is now the centre of the coronavirus outbreak, the chances of Eurovision going ahead are looking pretty slim.
Sharing an update on Twitter, the song contest promised fans that more information would follow for the May event in the coming weeks. “With a constant changing situation regarding coronavirus and a large number of people to consult, every important element needs to be taken into consideration,” they said.
Radio 1’s Big Weekend
Radio 1’s Big Weekend was heading up to Dundee for its 2020 festival, with Dua Lipa and Harry Styles set to headline. They’ve now announced that following guidance from the Scottish government, and with festival-goers health and safety in mind, the event will not go ahead.
A statement on the Radio 1 website read: “After careful consideration we have come to the decision that Radio 1’s Big Weekend 2020 in Dundee will not go ahead. This decision has been made in conjunction with our event partners, in line with the advice from the Scottish government, and while we know fans looking forward to purchasing tickets will be disappointed, it is important we prioritise the health and safety of all those involved.”
Reading, Leeds, BST Hyde Park, & Lovebox
Other festivals like Reading & Leeds, BST Hyde Park, and Lovebox are still on for the time being. “Please be assured that the safety and health of all staff and visitors, is our main priority and we are implementing recommendations and instructions appropriately,” a statement on the Reading Festival’s site reads. They too are “closely monitoring” guidance from Public Health England, the government, and the World Health Organisation.
On March 21, the organisers of BST Hyde Park wrote on Twitter, “we are working hard to deliver BST Hyde Park 2020 but these are challenging and unprecedented times which remain fluid and ever changing and so over the past week we have been seeing further clarification on the government statements surrounding the emergency services and major UK events."
On March 27, Lovebox confirmed it too is no longer taking place. "We've been closely monitoring this unprecedented situation and it has become clear that it's just not possible for this year's festival to go ahead," the official announcement read. "We will be back stronger than ever on 11th-13th June 2021 and we hope you see you all then."
The K-Pop stars have already cancelled their April dates in Seoul due to the virus, and the fate of their shows at London’s Twickenham Stadium on July 3 and 4 remains to be seen. Ticket sales for their European dates have been postponed but organisers are yet to confirm whether the performances are actually cancelled. As there’s been no news fans may be able to purchase tickets at a later date.
Bustle has reached out to the group’s reps for comment on the situation.
Due to the pandemic and travel restrictions between European countries Harry Styles has postponed his European tour. He was set to play dates in the UK, Germany, France, Denmark, and Italy to name a few. He’s not totally canceled his shows and will kickstart the Love On Tour on Feb. 12 2021 in Bologna, Italy. He wrote on Twitter: “Anyone who knows me, knows that performing has always been my favorite part of working in music. However, during times like these, the safety and protection of touring crew, fans, and everyone else around the world is an immediate priority.”
Rock band The Who have cancelled their upcoming UK tour due to start March, 16. 2020 in Manchester and finish at Wembley on April 8, 2020. In a statement given to Sky News, the band said they felt “much regret” about the postponement but that “fans’ safety is paramount.”
Avril Lavigne has cancelled her much-anticipated UK/Europe comeback tour due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The singer was scheduled to play four headline dates in the UK, but in a statement posted to her Instagram page, she revealed US travel restrictions made it impossible. “With these restrictions in place, it means that I am no longer able to bring the Head Above Water Tour to Europe and the United Kingdom. And it sucks!” she wrote.
Film Releases (Including No Time To Die)
Set to release in the UK on April 3, Daniel Craig’s final Bond film, No Time To Die,has been postponed until Nov. 12. The UK premiere was scheduled to take place on March 31 at the Royal Albert Hall in London. This followed a letter sent by two of the franchise’s fan sites that asked for the film’s global release to be delayed.
Bustle has contacted EON, MGM, and Universal for further comment.
Festivals, Carnivals and Parades
Chelsea Flower Show
A favourite event in the spring calendar for both the public and Queen Elizabeth II, this year’s Chelsea Flower Show sadly won’t be going ahead in May. The Royal Horticultural Society released a statement on Tuesday 17th March confirming that all of its shows until June 30 would be cancelled to prevent the spread of coronavirus. It is the first time the green-fingered event hasn’t gone ahead since the Second World War.
A number of Pride 2020 events around the world have been disrupted due to the COVID-19 outbreak. On March 18, it was announced that Edinburgh Pride, due to take place on June 13, had been cancelled. Meanwhile, Pride in London, which was originally scheduled for June 27, has been postponed and UK Black Pride is also postponed until further notice. Organisers estimated that 1.5 million people attended Pride in the capital in 2019 and they’ve told the BBC they’re "hopeful" it can be picked up before the end of the year.
Notting Hill Carnival
There are “no plans to delay or postpone” the upcoming Notting Hill Carnival festivities due to take place in late August, according to a recent announcement. Carnival organisers issued a similar statement reassuring attendees that they “are taking advice from NHS delivery partners.” It continued: “If there is an increase in the risk to public health, and in the unlikely event that a decision is made to cancel Notting Hill Carnival 2020 we will make an official announcement.”
Edinburgh International Festival
Scotland’s annual Edinburgh International Festival — which commands an estimated 400,000 visitors each year — has cancelled all gatherings associated with its 2020 programme launch, reports The Guardian. The launch events were scheduled to run from 18-25 March in Edinburgh and London, instead “the Festival is creating a digital event to be broadcast live on 18th March, 12pm on its Facebook page.”
The annual three-week festival, which opens in August, is still set to go ahead. Festival director, Fergus Linehan, told The Guardian that they had “revised” the festival’s refunds policy “to offer anyone with Coronavirus related concerns a ticket refund.”
Trooping the Colour
The Queen's birthday parade, due to take place on June 13, will "not go ahead in its traditional form" Buckingham Palace confirmed on March 27. “In line with government advice, it has been agreed that the queen’s birthday parade, also known as Trooping the Colour, will not go ahead in its traditional form,” the statement read. “A number of other options are being considered, in line with relevant guidance.”
Normally, the event includes more than 1,400 parading soldiers, 200 horses and 400 musicians. It also usually involves the full attendance of the royal family, who gather on a balcony in Buckingham Palace’s east wing to watch the flypast by the Royal Air Force.
The Grand National
The Grand National Festival was set to take place between 2 to 4 April. However, following the advice of the government and health officials that mass gatherings aren’t advised during the coronavirus pandemic it’s been cancelled. "Public health must come first," senior steward of The Jockey Club Sandy Dudgeon told the BBC, “following the new government measures to help to tackle the coronavirus outbreak, this is not a viable option.”
The Grand National attracts an audience of 500 million people and Dudgeon said, “I know this is hugely disappointing news for the many people who work in our sport and the many millions who were looking forward to this year's event, but very sadly these are exceptional times and this is the responsible thing to do."
The London Marathon
The capital’s April 26 run has been postponed until Sunday, October 4, due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Hugh Brasher, the event's organiser said in a statement given to The Guardian: “The world is in an unprecedented situation grappling with a global pandemic of Covid-19 and public health is everyone’s priority. We know how disappointing this news will be for so many – the runners who have trained for many months, the thousands of charities for which they are raising funds and the millions who watch the race every year.”
Following the news that per the Guardian all tennis tournaments will be cancelled for up to 10 weeks, UK tennis fans may be wondering if Wimbledon will follow suit.
The publication states that, as it stands, the June competition will still go ahead. However, this may change depending on how the COVID-19 pandemic develops.
If the worst does come to the worst, Wimbledon has confirmed it “will be able to offer refunds to ticket-holders and debenture owners [those who receive tickets for each day of the competition]” if the tournament is cancelled, iNews reports.
Tokyo Olympics 2020
Over the last month there was a lot of deliberation about whether the Tokyo Olympics could go ahead as normal on July 24. However, on March 24 organisers announced that both the Olympics and Paralympics would have to be postponed until 2021.
The BBC reported that that the threat of the coronavirus was too great and in a joint statement, the organisers of Tokyo 2020 and the IOC said, “in the present circumstances and based on the information provided by the WHO today [Tuesday], the IOC president and the prime minister of Japan have concluded that the Games of the XXXII Olympiad in Tokyo must be rescheduled to a date beyond 2020 but not later than summer 2021, to safeguard the health of the athletes, everybody involved in the Olympic Games and the international community."
As of 17 March, it was also announced that Euro 2020 is postponed until 2021. The Premier League and English League football games have been suspended until April. 3 2020, per the BBC. The Professional Footballers’ Association posted a statement to Twitter, in full support of the postponement. It read: “The PFA welcomes the decision to suspend the Premier League and English Football League to suspend games until 3rd April 2020.”
The FA’s ruling “‘will also apply to all England team fixtures at every level and all FA competitions including the Emirates FA Cup and the Women’s FA Cup, along with academy and youth-team matches.” The full statement, from the Football Association website, confirms the decision was made “purely on the number of cases requiring self-isolation and the impact on facilities.”
The Times reports that football matches in England could be played behind closed doors to help manage the spread of COVID-19. The new rules would apply to Premier League matches, per the publication, and ticket holders would reportedly be able to stream all matches from home. Manchester United will also play the first leg of the Europa League without fans “following advice from the Austrian government.”
It comes after Manchester City’s Premier League fixture at home to Arsenal on March 11 was postponed. In an official statement on their website, Manchester City says it’s to do with some players having to self isolate, “after it emerged that personnel from Arsenal FC have come into contact with the Olympiacos owner, Evangelos Marinakis, who has been named as a positive case of COVID-19.”
If you or someone you’ve been in close contact with appears to have shown or be showing symptoms of coronavirus, which include fever, shortness of breath, and coughing, visit the NHS website in the UK to find out the next steps you should take or visit the CDC website in the U.S. for up-to-date information and resources. You can find all Bustle’s coverage of coronavirus here, and UK-specific updates on coronavirus here.
Contributions by Lauren Sharkey, Sophie McEvoy, Aoife Hanna, L'Oréal Blackett, Isobel Lewis, and Alice Broster.
This article was originally published on