Wickham Festival 2021: Event may continue at a reduced size following safety concerns

A MUCH-ANTICIPATED Hampshire music festival has seen its main stage closed after ‘atrocious weather’ led to safety concerns.

By Fiona Callingham
Friday, 6th August 2021, 4:38 pm
Updated Saturday, 7th August 2021, 11:08 am

Organisers of the four-day Wickham Festival have had to close its main stage after deciding what they had been supplied with was not good enough.

Heavy rain during the event’s opening yesterday afternoon (August 5) turned the venue into a ‘mudpit’.

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A family wade through the drenched mud at Wickham Festival Picture: Andy Hornby

In a statement released today the organisers said their supplier is still working on the main stage, and will attempt to see it fixed and then signed off by an engineer.

If the stage can’t be used, then they said they would be left with two options – to cancel the festival or run at a smaller size.

Organiser Peter Chegwyn said: 'If we get it signed off over the weekend then we will go back to being at full strength.

'It's a shame to have been let down like this but we will persevere - everyone is still playing and the show will go on.

Fighting against the mud and hillside to get to the bar at Wickham Festival Picture: Andy Hornby

'I will not use a stage that is not signed off as safe, but we've moved those acts to the big top instead.'

A statement released on social media said: ‘On balance, we have decided to go ahead with a reduced size Wickham Festival rather than no festival at all.

‘In a way it’s returning to our roots, the kind of smaller-scale event which we used to run.

‘It won’t be perfect, it won’t be what you and we wanted to see, but it will allow you to see the artists booked to appear this weekend as well as enjoy the other attractions, which are unaffected by the main stage problems.

The main stage, still being built (behind because of the weather), as management decide to leave it closed for the first day. Picture: Andy Hornby

‘We apologise again for the problems which can affect any festival. We hope you appreciate we are doing everything to resolve those issues within our control and to be honest with you about where we’re at, but sadly the main stage issues are outside our control.’

They added: ‘We will continue to keep you informed and do everything we can to make the festival as enjoyable as possible.’

As reported, acts had to be relocated from the main stage to covered tents last night amid health and safety concerns.

Musicians performing at the festival, which will end on Sunday, include Van Morrison, Deacon Blue and Nick Lowe.

According to the Met Office some rain and thunder is expected in the Fareham area tomorrow (August 7).

The festival was scrapped last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

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