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




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 Amwelltandon were both set to take place in over bank holiday weekends.

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 The 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 have worked so hard to make our 20th anniversary the best yet. We are already in negotiations with the acts for next year, so it is not all doom and gloom.

"Massive thanks to everyone who has been so supportive in these difficult times. We will 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 stage the festival this year after 2019's bad weather left a black hole in the budget.

Black Grape at Bish Bash
Black Grape at Bish Bash

It was due to coincide with the 75th anniversary of VE Day when the first May bank holiday has been pushed back from Monday the 4th to Friday the 8th to mark the milestone.

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, and extending into Saturday and Sunday, leaving revellers to recover on the Whitsun bank holiday Monday.

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

A spokesman for the event, which is an off-shoot of the well-established Stone Valley North brand, said: "We have taken the decision to postpone Stone Valley Festival South until the August bank holiday weekend of August 28 to 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.

"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 70's should self-isolate from this Friday 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 have chosen the next bank holiday weekend as it is nearly six months away, to give everyone a chance to come along, and means that the festival will still run for three days.

"Final line-up confirmation will follow in the next few days but we can already confirm now that 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 are 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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