Glastonbury festival, the UK’s most famous music event, has been officially cancelled today (Thursday) for the second year in a row due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Organisers Emily and Michael Eavis said in a statement that “in spite of our efforts to move heaven and earth” it is clear that the festival could not go ahead under the current circumstances.

It read: “With great regret, we must announce that this year’s Glastonbury Festival will not take place, and that this will be another enforced fallow year for us.”

The pair also assured ticket holders that, as with last year, their £50 deposit will be rolled over to Glastonbury 2022 to guarantee a chance to buy a ticket for the event. This year’s festival had been set to go ahead from June 23-27.

They said: “We are very appreciative of the faith and trust placed in us by those of you with deposits, and we are very confident we can deliver something really special for us all in 2022!”

Julian Knight, chair of the DCMS Committee, which is conducting an inquiry into the survival of festivals after the pandemic, said the news was “devastating”.

He said: “We have repeatedly called for ministers to act to protect our world-renowned festivals like this one with a government-backed insurance scheme. Our plea fell on deaf ears and now the chickens have come home to roost. The jewel in the crown will be absent but surely the government cannot ignore the message any longer – it must act now to save this vibrant and vital festivals sector.”

In December, Glastonbury joined calls for the UK government to provide “direct financial support” due to difficulties in obtaining cancellation insurance. Emily Eavis has said that Glastonbury had “lost a substantial amount of money” this year, and had hoped that the government would provide a safety net so that organisers can still make plans for festivals this summer.

The 2020 edition of the largest greenfield festival in the world, originally scheduled to take place in June at Worthy Farm, was expecting more than 210,000 punters after an agreed increase from the previous year.

Image: jaswooduk / CC BY 2.0 / Edited for size