One of the Burnham and Highbridge’s longest-running events won’t be taking place in 2021 due to the Coronavirus pandemic, the organisers have announced this week.
The long-running Highbridge Festival of the Arts – which has been held without interruption for 73 years – has been cancelled to comply with Covid safety guidelines.
The event is usually held each March and includes over 2,000 dance, choral, drama and speech performances from across the region at Burnham’s Princess Theatre and Highbridge Community Hall.
The organisers have decided to call off the event early.
Clare Catcheside, General Secretary, told Burnham-On-Sea.com: “It is a sad and difficult decision, but an inevitable one in these extraordinary times.”
“It’s our first cancellation in the 73 years we have been running – the event started in 1948 and has been run every year so it’s a big blow.”
“We are desperately disappointed, but we wouldn’t have had the usual number of entrants or been able to accommodate the audience safely under the current safety guidelines.”
Carol Harris, Chairman of Highbridge Festival, says: “We always aim to keep everyone as safe as possible. It would be impossible to run the festival from a safeguarding perspective.”
Reacting to the news, Highbridge district councillor Janet Keen said: “It is desperately sad news to see the festival cancelled for the first time. It is the right decision, though, to keep everyone safe.”
The organisers add that they are planning to go ahead in 2022 and have already booked adjudicators and the theatre for Spring 2022.
The 2020 Highbridge Festival of the Arts was one of the last art festivals in the whole country to be held before the Covid-19 lockdown started. It finished just days before the special measures started in March.