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Billy Bragg says Glastonbury cancellation was ‘a bit of a shock’

Roisin O'Connor
·2-min read
Billy Bragg curated the Left Field stage of Glastonbury Festival (Getty)
Billy Bragg curated the Left Field stage of Glastonbury Festival (Getty)

Singer-songwriter Billy Bragg has said Glastonbury's cancellation came as “a bit of a shock”, as he believed there was still a chance the festival might go ahead.

Last week, organisers Michael and Emily Eavis announced that they had been forced to cancel Glastonbury for the second consecutive year, “in spite of our efforts to move Heaven and Earth”.

Tickets for this year will be rolled over to 2022.

“I don't think it was inevitable,” Bragg, who organises the festival’s Left Field tent, told BBC Breakfast.

He continued: “Glastonbury was one of those big things where we all thought, 'OK that's a landmark there. If we can get to Glasto, then... it's a real signal to the rest of the festival diaspora that things are going to happen again'.

“So, losing it again for another year is a bit of a shock.”

The live music sector has been among the worst hit by the pandemic, with events reporting a 92.2 per cent loss in revenue in 2020.

Bragg pointed out that Glastonbury’s organisers are used to holding a fallow year every four years, “so they can deal with that”.

However, he said it was still “a real loss” for fans and everyone who works on the event.

In the same interview, Bragg said he hoped that people would be able to return to festivals in the near future.

“Once this ends, people will want to get together and listen to music again because there's something you can get from gathering together in a crowd to listen to music... and you can’t get that on the internet,” he said.

“It’s just the hope that those venues and those festivals are still going to be there.”

Bragg features in Metropolitan Essex, a new documentary about his Essex roots, which airs tonight (Monday 25 January) on BBC Radio 3.

Additional reporting by Press Association.

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