Peter Gabriel slams UK government as Womad Festival postpones to 2022

Peter Gabriel
(Image credit: Peter Gabriel)

Peter Gabriel has unequivocally blamed the UK government for their continued failing of UK music festivals as Womad announced that it was postponing to 2022. The news comes just over a week after the former Genesis singer warned about the precarious state music festivals have been left in.

“We feel that our audience, artists, staff and contractors, who have been amazingly supportive throughout all this, will understand the need for us to act to guarantee our survival,” said Gabriel in a statement.

“Whilst the prime minister and his colleagues say there will be no restrictions on society at that point, we have been unable to get any confirmation of what the plan is,” the organisers continued. “Nor is there any clarity on how what is being learned from the  events research programme might affect the guidance for festivals and how they are required to operate.

Womad had not been granted test event status that allowed events such the Download pilot and the forthcoming Latitude festival to take place, with Gabriel stating that this "clearly implies that only approved test events will be protected and guaranteed the right to go ahead as normal - even though this flies in the face of the Prime Minister's statements.

"We have not been asking for financial support; all we have wanted is certainty in the form of insurance against cancellation (that we'd be happy to pay for). We need an understanding of the realities of how our industry works and the benefits that we bring. The industry should see equal access to support and a much less opaque way of deciding who gets help."

At the same time the Silverstone Grand Prix – a five-day camping event attended by 140,000 people – will take place.

“It certainly doesn’t seem to be supported by science – as even Lewis Hamilton has commented,” said Womad organisers.

Jerry Ewing

Writer and broadcaster Jerry Ewing is the Editor of Prog Magazine which he founded for Future Publishing in 2009. He grew up in Sydney and began his writing career in London for Metal Forces magazine in 1989. He has since written for Metal Hammer, Maxim, Vox, Stuff and Bizarre magazines, among others. He created and edited Classic Rock Magazine for Dennis Publishing in 1998 and is the author of a variety of books on both music and sport, including Wonderous Stories; A Journey Through The Landscape Of Progressive Rock.