Since lockdown restrictions were imposed towards the end of March 2020, mass events, annual gatherings and one-off celebrations across the UK have been in jeopardy – with most being postponed or cancelled.
On 12th March 2020, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that the government was considering a ban on all sports fixtures but that it wouldn’t happen immediately.
The following day, 13th March 2020, the iconic London Marathon was postponed from 26th April to 4th October. This was joined by a postponement of the Manchester Marathon as well as other sporting events including across Cycling, Cricket, Football, Formula 1, Golf and Rugby.
On 24th March, Henley Regatta, which has taken place every year for 181 years, was cancelled for concerns over the health of those who run and attend the event.
On 31st March, the world-famous UK-based Tennis tournament, Wimbledon, made the announcement that the 2020 tournament was cancelled. This marks the first cancellation of Wimbledon since the Second World War.
After debate and rumour that some professional sporting games could take place privately, on 11th May the UK government announced that no professional sport would be staged in England until 1st June 2020 at the very earliest, including behind closed doors.
This link lists all of the postponed Sporting events still set to happen in 2020, subject to change.
Music Festivals and Concerts
While many music festivals and concerts initially postponed their event dates for later in the year, as the pandemic continues it is becoming increasingly clear that 2020 events will have to be cancelled altogether.
On 18th March 2020, Glastonbury made the announcement that it would be cancelling the 2020 instalment of its world famous event, despite 2020 marking the festival’s 50th anniversary. The event organisers confirmed that ticket holders would see their tickets rolled over to 2021, in line with the hopes of many event organisers – that attendees keep hold of their 2020 tickets, and wait for the events to be rolled over to next year.
At present, that appears to be the most viable way for music fans to help save the live events industry, with ticket holders being encouraged to hold onto their tickets instead of requesting refunds, wherever possible.
Other events and mass gatherings
On 23rd March 2020, the UK government announced a ban on any gatherings of more than two individuals, effectively putting an end to any events or mass gatherings for the foreseeable future.
The Prime Minister confirmed that Police would be able to enforce these new restrictions from the 23rd March onwards, citing the following rules:
- All social events, including weddings, baptisms and other ceremonies are banned
- Funerals could still go ahead but under strict rules, including no physical contact, no form of wake or celebration after the ceremony, and only allowing close family members to attend.
The response to event regulations
Some events have done what they can to engage with their audience despite the lockdown, with online versions of events being run where possible. For example, the RHS Chelsea Flower Show decided to run a virtual garden show during its usual event week, giving viewers exclusive access and footage in some of the UK’s most beautiful gardens.
Sporting events have also embraced the power of online, with sporting communities like Strava encouraging individuals to partake in virtual marathons and other races for charity. Similarly, the football world has turned to online gaming, nominating high profile players to play as their virtual team through online tournaments, as well as showcasing training sessions.