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No Boomtown this year

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BOOMTOWN,the UK’s largest independent, theatrically-led festival, near Winchester, and so popular with Newbury festivalgoers, is the latest to pull this year’s festival, organisers saying the lack of a Government-backed insurance scheme left them facing an eight-figure “gamble”.

Chapter One: The Gathering, which was to run from August 11 to 15, will now take place from August 10 to 14 next year.

Organisers say: “We have been doing everything within our power to try to find a solution to the mind-boggling conundrum of putting on a safe and well-run event to the sheer scale, complexity and intricate nature of Boomtown this summer. However, the time has simply run out for us to be able to proceed in a way that would live up to our high safety and production standards for the large scale event we had planned.

“With less than four months to go until the event, and after almost half-a-year of collective campaigning to the Government, sadly Covid specific cancellation insurance for events simply does not exist at this point in time. This means anyone putting on an event this year, will be doing so without the safety net of insurance to cover them should Covid prevent them from going ahead in any capacity. For an independent event as large and complex as Boomtown, this means a huge gamble into an eight-figure sum to lose if we were to venture much further forward, and then not be able to go ahead due to Covid.

“Although we have recently been awarded a very generous grant from the Arts Council England, which we are incredibly grateful for and throws us a vital and necessary lifeline, the reality is it represents only a fraction of the costs (under 10 per cent) involved in creating an event to the sheer scale and ambition of Boomtown and only goes so far to plugging the deficit left from not being able to run our event now for two years in a row, and most pressingly does not solve the problem of lack of insurance.

“We had planned Chapter One: The Gathering with our values front and centre and the safety and comfort at the top of the agenda for all in attendance, those living in the local area, as well as those working on the event. However, it does not feel that at this critical point in time we have enough of an understanding of what the conditions will be in order for us to safely operate, or the time left to be able to implement it all to put on the show we know we were all waiting for this summer.”


Tickets for 2021 will automatically roll over to the 2022 event, and refunds will be available to those who wish. The resale for all refunded 2021 tickets will go ahead on June 1.

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