Shambala organisers left heartbroken at decision to cancel festival for second successive year

Organisers said the risk of a last-minute cancellation nearer its August date could risk the future of the acclaimed festival.

By David Jackson
Wednesday, 14th April 2021, 8:10 pm
Updated Wednesday, 14th April 2021, 8:14 pm
The Shambala 'grand finale' in 2019. Photo by Ania Shrimpton
The Shambala 'grand finale' in 2019. Photo by Ania Shrimpton

The organisers of the annual Shambala Festival have said they are “absolutely heartbroken” at their decision to cancel the event for a second successive year.

Today, the festival released a statement saying because of concerns some form of social distancing may still be in place when Shambala is due to be held in August, they were left with no other option.

In a statement on its website and across social media platforms, organisers said: “We can’t quite believe that we find ourselves writing this once again but we must now sadly confirm that Shambala will not take place in 2021.

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“We are absolutely heartbroken again. We’ve been holding out as long as possible but the uncertainty of the landscape really leaves us no choice.

“As a totally independent festival, even with the amazing support you lot have shown us over the last year and the Cultural Recovery Fund grant we received, without government backed insurance a last minute cancellation would risk the very future of Shambala.

“That's not a gamble we are willing to take.”

Shambala annually attracts thousands of fans from across the country and is renowned as one of the most pioneering and innovative events of the UK’s festival calendar.

Each year sees an eclectic mix of music, art, debates and workshops across its site in north Northamptonshire during four days in August.

The statement continues to say while the team behind Shambala hope the roadmap out of lockdown sticks to the dates previously published by the Government there remains a possibility social distancing measures of some form will be in place.

The statement continues “We’ve been engaged in a somewhat nightmarish game of Tetris over the past few months trying to envisage how Shambala could work.

“The short answer is, it couldn’t. It just wouldn’t be Shambala.

“As ever, a huge thank you to all of you for your support, patience and positivity. We’re so, truly sorry that we won’t be able to welcome you beautiful humans back to our utopia this year but, rest assured, we will be back.”

Shambala will be automatically refunding tickets which have been purchased for the festival, rather than offering anyone the opportunity to ‘rollover’ their purchase to next year.

However, all current ticket holders will have a ticket reserved for them to purchase for Shambala 2022 before they go on general release.

Despite Shambala not taking place this year, organisers will be running a camping event at the same site on the weekends of July 23 - 26, July 30 - August 2 and August 6 - 9.

It will feature pre-pitched glamping and ‘bring your own tent’ options and there will be a small line-up of musicians, food trailers and workshops.

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