WOMAD festival has been cancelled 'to guarantee its survival', said the event's co-founder Peter Gabriel.

He had stressed, earlier this month, that the three-day event could not go ahead without government-backed insurance or test event status.

But the event, due to be held at Charlton Park in Malmesbury from Thursday, July 22 to Saturday, July 25, failed to secure 'test event' status, despite this being granted to two other festivals - Latitude and Tramlines - on the same weekend as WOMAD.


And on Monday he announced: “It is with great regret that we are cancelling WOMAD '21.


"Without the simple support of a government insurance scheme or the guarantee of test event status, we cannot continue and put WOMAD’s long term future at risk.


"We feel that our audience, artists, staff, and contractors, who have been amazingly supportive throughout all this, will understand the need for us to act to guarantee our survival."



Commenting on Latitude and Tramlines being granted test event status on the same weekend as WOMAD, Gabriel said this "clearly implies that only approved test events will be protected and guaranteed the right to go ahead as normal - even though this flies in the face of the Prime Minister's statements".



In Monday's statement he wrote: "It is the lack of government backed insurance along with these actions that have forced WOMAD to cancel.


"We have not been asking for financial support; all we have wanted is certainty in the form of insurance against cancellation (that we'd be happy to pay for).


"We need an understanding of the realities of how our industry works and the benefits that we bring.


"The industry should see equal access to support and a much less opaque way of deciding who gets help."


Mass events are set to be allowed to take place from July 19 - 72 hours before WOMAD should open its gates - when coronavirus restrictions ease.


Gabriel added: "At WOMAD, we are indebted to our audiences, artists, and suppliers for the love and support we have received, which has only increased as we have tried to climb the mountain that kept growing in front of us.


"We hope you will continue to hang in there with us, and as for options of ticket refunds or rollovers to 2022, we hope as many of you as possible will consider rolling your tickets over to join us next year from 28 - 31st July 2022. It’s easy, do nothing and your ticket will automatically roll over."