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May's Bish Bash and Stone Valley South music festivals wiped out by coronavirus

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Bish Bash and Stone Valley South festivals have been wiped off May's music calendar by the coronavirus pandemic.

The events in Bishop's Stortford and Great Amwell were set to take place over bank holiday weekends next month.

Twig Smith and Annabel Cowley, who lead the team of volunteers behind the two-day festival in Sworder's Field, said: "It will come as no surprise that Bish Bash will not be happening this year. We are devastated.

Twig Smith and Annabel Cowley
Twig Smith and Annabel Cowley

"After all the support the community gave us last year, following our weather-hit event, we've worked so hard to make our 20th anniversary the best yet. We're already in negotiations with the acts for next year, so it's not all doom and gloom.

"Massive thanks to everyone who has been so supportive in these difficult times. We'll be contacting ticket holders directly regarding refunds in the coming days. Stay safe, people, look out for each other and we will see you on the other side for a party in the park."

Last year, the Indie launched a £10,000 crowdfunding appeal to help stage the festival this year after bad weather on the Saturday of the 2019 event left a black hole in the budget.

Bish Bash 2020 logo (33259861)
Bish Bash 2020 logo (33259861)

It was due to start on bank holiday Friday May 8 to coincide with the 75th anniversary of VE Day. The fun was set to kick off with a 1940s street party theme before continuing on Saturday May 9 with the usual selection of bands and comedy across three stages. The headliners were Buzzcocks and EMF.

Stone Valley Festival South was set to return to East Herts with live legends including Happy Mondays, The Boomtown Rats and The Undertones.

The organisers were hoping for a repeat of last year's successful Northern soul, mod, ska and punk music celebration at Hillside Farm, Great Amwell, from Friday May 22 to Sunday May 24, leaving revellers to recover on the Whitsun bank holiday Monday.

A spokesman for the event, which is an off-shoot of the well-established Stone Valley North brand, said: "We've taken the decision to postpone Stone Valley Festival South until the bank holiday weekend of August 28-30. This decision reflects a wish to ensure that the festival is here in future years while unequivocally putting public health front and centre during these troubling times.

Stone Valley South (31966138)
Stone Valley South (31966138)

"This is not a decision we have taken lightly, but we have to prioritise everyone's health and safety and at this time we feel many people would choose not to attend anyway in May.

"The Government's advice that the vulnerable and over-70s should self-isolate for three months falls directly in the time that Stone Valley Festival South would have been held, and it would run against our inclusive aims to see a position that may unfairly preclude elderly or unwell persons from attending the event.

"We've chosen the next bank holiday weekend as it is nearly six months away, to give everyone a chance to come along, and it means that the festival will still run for three days.

"Final line-up confirmation will follow, but the vast majority of bands and artists have already confirmed that they are able to appear and have rallied in support and worked their diaries around the new dates in order to still be able to play, and we must thank them for their support. We're working hard with the final few artists to finish this off."

Those who have already bought tickets are being asked to keep them for the postponed event in August.

The spokesman said: "Like all smaller festivals we will need your support in order to get through to the other side of this crisis and guarantee the event will go ahead for many years to come."

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