One Love Festival (cap. 5,000) has been cancelled for the foreseeable future after promoter Back To Our Roots said it had no option after a contractor pulled out and the local council revoked the festival’s licence.

The event, which was billed as the UK’s longest continually running reggae festival, was set to celebrate its 15th anniversary at a new location of Highden Estate in Worthing from 10-13 August.

In a statement, the promoter said the core contractor withdrawing meant Horsham District Council could not extend the deadline and had to withdraw the licence. It said it had secured an alternative contractor within 24 hours, but the council were “unable to accommodate this timeline”.

In a statement, the promoter said the festival has not fully recovered from the pandemic and has struggled with rising costs and paying all supplier bills in advance.

“We are beyond upset that this has happened – festivals are sometimes like a house of cards: remove one important section and it all comes tumbling down – this what makes events so stressful,” the promoter said.

The statement read: “The One Love team has tried everything in our power to recover from the challenges of 2022 and Covid to produce the event our audience deserves – We’ve looked at all the options to keep the event on the table but this would mean sadly only a legal route now. Due to the time constraints, and our relationship with Horsham Council we feel this isn’t a practical route forward 

“We’re not just devastated that we will not be seeing another One Love Festival, we’re devastated for the hard work and legacy of the event and what One Love Festival stands for and how hard we’ve worked over the last 15 years to build this event. 

“Since Covid we really haven’t managed to bounce back fully, it really stopped us in the midst of our tracks. So much sunk costs, then rollovers, our website traffic, social media interaction and even our emailing list reduced (soft bounces) – costs are higher, suppliers are insisting we pay all bills in advance to supply, as a result we have already paid out almost every single penny of the event’s income towards those costs, and artist deposits. That means the quickest way for our customers to get a refund is to contact their visa card provider and explain this situation swiftly. 

“We are so very sorry to everyone that this is the outcome of all our hard work and many many hours our entire team has invested in trying to make the festival happen. There are no other words, we really, honestly feel utterly devastated to have reached the conclusion that we have to cancel the event like this. We are especially sorry to fans and families who have been looking forward to the festival as their annual reggae family summer holiday to reunite in One Love harmony we know how much you love seeing each other.

“It has been a honour to produce the One Love event: from a dream, to seeing it grow each year, in love and peace. It’s been wonderful to see all your smiling faces annually. The event started from such very humble beginnings, and we’ve fought tooth and nail through extraordinary circumstances to keep this annual reggae party on the Road. Wishing the One Love family Jah Blessings, peace and love.”