Wickham Festival News

Wickham Festival organisers unhappy with lack of Government guidance

Wickham Festival organisers have hit out at the Government after being forced to postpone next month’s event.

The hugely popular showpiece – scheduled for August 6-9 – has now been put back to next year because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

It had been hoped a scaled-down version might have been possible and contingency plans were drawn up to enable full social distancing.

Although these met current legal requirements, lack of government guidance has made it impossible to go ahead according to organiser Peter Chegwyn.

He said: “We have delayed making the decision in the hope that the government would issue some clear guidelines and we were very close to getting it on.

“But unfortunately the lack of clarity and a coherent strategy from Westminster means we have been forced to cancel which will cost the Wickham area around £1m in lost revenue.

“The Government have said that concert halls can re-open – but they can’t stage concerts! That is like saying pubs can re-open but not serve any alcohol! It sums up how vague and contradictory the policies are.

“They have said there should be no live performances to a live audience indoors but it is not clear whether that also applies outdoors.

“We could have got rid of our traditional big tops to have an entirely outdoor event and we have been advised that would have met current criteria. But we just don’t know if that would be within whatever guidelines are dreamed up for the first week in August.

“The government keep promising clarity but have failed to deliver guidelines promised on June 13. We have delayed a decision for months; we just can’t wait any longer.

“We are absolutely gutted to have to delay but the government have made it impossible to go ahead with any certainty. We could not risk having everything in place and then having to cancel at the very last minute.

“It is desperately sad not just for the thousands who had bought tickets but also for local businesses such as shops, hotels, lighting, staging, catering, breweries, landowners and more. They will lose a lot of money as a result.

“Boris Johnson says he wants to open up the economy and we were ready to help but unfortunately it has proved impossible to stage the festival this year.

“Instead the entire programme, including our main headliner Van Morrison, will roll over to next year. Tickets will still be valid and we hope to see everyone back here for a huge party. We will make it our biggest and best event yet to make up for this year’s disappointment.”

Those unable to make the August 5-8 dates in 2021 will be able to get a refund with details being announced shortly.

Spike Edney, Graham Gouldman, Steve Harley, Tom Robinson, Toyah, and Madeline Bell.

Chegwyn added: “We have a very loyal following and many have already told us they will keep hold of their tickets, especially those who bought at a discount rate before our headliners were announced.

“We have a fantastic line-up with Van Morrison being joined by the Waterboys, Leo Sayer, The South, Nick Lowe and Los Straitjackets, the SAS Band starring Wickham favourites Tom Robinson, Toyah, Steve Harley, Graham Gouldman and many more.

“The strength of this festival is the family feel and the relaxed environment from the laid-back atmosphere to the welcoming nature of the village. We have taken on board feedback from ticket-holders and residents and by next year we will be ready for a big party!”

Listen to organiser Peter Chegwyn on BBC Radio Solent here. Rewind to 8.07am, Thursday July 2, 2020.

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    Another lovely video from last weekend's 'Virtual Wickham' organised by our friends at The Magic Teapot. Enjoy! ... See MoreSee Less

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    Comment on Facebook Here's a cover of ...

    Thank you to everyone who came to our 'drive-in picnic' concert with Show of Hands last Friday. Organised jointly with Sound Level Events it proved to be a most enjoyable evening and helped keep live music alive in these troubled times. ... See MoreSee Less

    Thank you to everyone who came to our drive-in picnic concert with Show of Hands last Friday.  Organised jointly with Sound Level Events it proved to be a most enjoyable evening and helped keep live music alive in these troubled times.

    Comment on Facebook Thank you to ...

    It was fab....do you mind if I use this pic as my screensaver? Thank you so much for organising. A great experience.x

    Wonderful event gave a little hope of attending the festival next year. Can’t wait!

    What a brilliant idea. A perfect evening with fantastic music. Thanks for sorting. Local event for me. Looking forward to Wickham festival next year 🤞

    Oor wee show of hands light show x

    Loved it!

    Fantastic evening, thank you 👏

    Lovely evening...

    It was brilliant Just a shame that separation meant that the guys couldn’t hear how much we all enjoyed it.

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    Another lovely video from our friends at The Magic Teapot who should have been with us at Wickham this weekend. This video features The New England Spirit Animals. Enjoy... and pop over to The Magic Teapot for some more Wickham-related videos. ... See MoreSee Less

    A lovely video from our friends at The Magic Teapot who should have been joining us at Wickham this weekend. Have a peep, enjoy the video and the others on their page at The Magic Teapot ... See MoreSee Less

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    Funnily enough we were talking about it last night, loved this place at Wickham

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    First time I'd seen them at Wickham last year & they were fantastic, so entertaining 👍

    They were brilliant, great fun, all very talented, and very funny! Loved the hats! 💕

    My favourite Singing group. Please have them back! 🎼🤓

    Finally had my leave confirmed for next year so ticket ordered. So looking forward to having something to look forward to - if you get my drift 😀

    Was another amazing performance, Spooky Men just get better every time I see you!

    They were absolutely amazing, you must get them back.

    Brilliant. So much to look forward to.

    Loved them!

    That would be so great if you could get them back for next year! By the way, is Eddi Reader confirmed, as she recently put out tour dates for next year, but Wickham wasn't included?

    Pamela Horrigan

    Most excellent ... as we had (yet another) weekend with nowhere to go, we staged a mini wickham festival in our garden, the crowd went wild ... 🕺🎶💃

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