The 27,000-capacity Kendal Calling festival has been cancelled after DCMS declined to make it part in the Government’s Events Research Programme (ERP) pilot scheme. Meanwhile, sources told Access that the future of this year’s Tramlines (cap. 30,000) festival has been secured by the event having become part of the ERP.
Kendal Calling was due to take place on 29 July – 1 August at Lowther Deer Park in Cumbria. Superstruct owns 60 per cent of the business, while the remaining 40 per cent is owned by Andy Smith and fellow co-founder Ben Robinson – who run event operation From The Fields.
Smith told Access that the event had been put forward to be part of the ERP but was turned down by the DCMS: “We told them that [not being part of the ERP] would mean we would be forced to cancel. No one knows what’s going on, what the ERP criteria is or why some festivals are being chosen and not others. This, on top of the delay to the publication of the ERP report itself, leading to a lack of guidance for us to safely and successfully deliver Kendal Calling to the high standard we and our customers expect ultimately forced the cancellation”
Smith said Kendal Calling’s application for a Cultural Recovery Fund grant was also turned down: “My parents have a small ice cream shop in Arnside, it has five staff and they have had quite a lot of support from the Government. I have a bar in Manchester and we have received around £70,000 in grants, but Kendal Calling has received nothing despite it employing 5,000 people – it’s crazy.”
Meanwhile, it is understood that Superstruct-owned Tramlines will go ahead on 23-25 July at Hillsborough Park in Sheffield having become part of the ERP.
Asked to confirm the involvement of Tramlines in the Events Research Programme, a DCMS spokesperson said, “We are finalising details and an announcement will be made fairly soon.”
Kendal Calling is the latest event to have been cancelled following the prime minister’s announcement on 14 June that Step 4 of the conditional reopening timeline would be delayed until 19 July.