Festival fans snap up tickets in wake of prime minister's announcement that summer shows can go ahead

WITH events looking like they will return in the summer, festivals such as the Wickham Festival have excitedly confirmed their line-up and promoted their tickets.

The 7,000-capacity festival is due to take place on August 5 until 8, with headliners the Waterboys and Van Morrison.

Prime minister Boris Johnson announced on Monday that larger events can return from June 21, plus there would be no legal limits on social contact, subject to a review.

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Scott Morris (centre) celebrated his birthday with his friends at Wickham Festival in 2019.

Event organiser Peter Chegwyn said they had sold more tickets in the 12 hours after the prime minister’s announcement than they had for the past three months.

He said: ‘At last there is hope. It was very good news and it was a huge relief. There is now a degree of certainty, which is what all businesses needed. We can now plan.

‘People are desperate to enjoy themselves. They are much more positive. They can see the light at the end of the tunnel.’

The festival, which has won nuerous awards including Best Festival at The News' Guide Awards, will see most acts booked for last year transfer over to this year’s line up, with the exception of Leo Sayer who has moved to Australia.

Wickham Festival 2019

Last year the festival, which takes place in fields off Blind Lane, was cancelled despite the organisers planning a range of Covid-secure methods and a fundraiser was held to ensure that it would be able to continue in 2021.

The cancellation of last year’s show racked up more than £50,000 debt but the public showed their affection for the show and raised more than £30,000 by pledging donations and buying range of goodies, including T-shirts, discounts and VIP tours.

Now Peter is hoping for a great summer.

He said: ‘We are very optimistic. We were all hoping that some small events would be able to be held in August so we are delighted to see this announcement that we can go ahead.

Pictured is: (left to right) News reporter Millie Salked with The Guide Awards Winners of Best Festival Wickham Festival, organiser Peter Chegwyn and Graham Hiley. Picture: Sarah Standing (280119-7368)

‘Other larger festivals such as the Isle of Wight or Boomtown may still not be able to happen as they are so large it takes them weeks to build. Where we are a smaller festival we can be in and up within three days.

‘Overall the announcement was better than we expected. It gives us certainty.

‘We have been planning in a vacuum without knowing if we can go ahead or what restrictions there would be, which is a nightmare for any event organiser, from large events like Goodwood down to the small school fetes.

Wickham Festival 2019 - Anna Bispham shows off her butterfly wings outside The Valley Stage.

‘There is no insurance for Covid. We have been begging the government to underwrite a policy.

‘People have to take a huge risk to put on events. Now we just need the prime minister to stick to his word and keep to the dates.

‘We look forward to having an extra special festival. Ticket sales have gone through the roof. The public clearly want to go out and enjoy themselves again.

‘Outdoors events like ours are very safe. People are desperate to get back to some kind of normality, and music festivals like ours are the perfect opportunity to do that.’

Tickets start from £55 for an adult day ticket and £160 for a weekend plus camping. Go to wickhamfestival.co.uk/

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