Safety first as Great Yarmouth's big summer events called off
The organisers of Great Yarmouth's largest summer festivals are announcing the unavoidable cancellation of their events this year, to help protect public health and safety in response to the continued coronavirus threat.
While the Great Yarmouth Wheels Festival, Great Yarmouth Maritime Festival and Out There Festival cannot take place, organisers hope to be able to stage an exciting summer events season in 2021, to help support recovery from Covid-19. These are among many public events that have had to be called off across the UK this year.
Cllr Carl Smith, leader of Great Yarmouth Borough Council, which normally runs the Wheels Festival in July, said: "While we're all sad these popular events can't go ahead this year, public health and safety must be everyone's top priority, and being safe while having a good time is an important part of a positive visitor experience.
"The speed at which we recover is dependent on everyone playing their part in controlling this deadly, infectious virus, by following social distancing. Cancelling large events of this nature and format, which involve crowds of people and significant social interaction, is part of those critical efforts and is the right thing to do. But we look forward and hope to see Wheels rolling again in 2021."
Lyndon Bevan, chairman of the Greater Yarmouth Tourism and Business Improvement Area (GYTABIA), which organises the Maritime Festival, and the Great Yarmouth and Hemsby Summer Fireworks, said: "After detailed consideration and much regret we have taken the decision to cancel our events for this summer, I am sure that our residents, visitors and everyone involved in our events understand that this is in the best interests of ensuring the safety of all."
Joe Mackintosh, director of SeaChange Arts, which organises the Out There International Festival of Circus and Street Arts, said: "The cancellation was ultimately inevitable. Delivering a large festival and keeping crowds of people safe during the current level of the pandemic is an impossible task.
"We rely on an incredible team of artists who bring the festival to life each year and are working hard to ensure we support the street arts and circus sector during this difficult time. Where possible, artists will be invited to take part in the 2021 event and are working on safely commissioning the creation of work at the Drill House over the next 12 months."
He added: "We also understand the impact on our local community and have diversified our offering by creating free online circus tutorials for all the family and implementing a circus equipment giveaway to support wellbeing and provide healthy activities to the young people of Great Yarmouth. We know these times are hugely testing for everybody, but we believe we can emerge from this time more resilient and connected than ever before."
A number of other events are also unavoidably cancelled for this year, including the Great Yarmouth Festival of Bowls and the Gorleston Bandstand Concerts. As the situation develops over the coming months, the council will monitor the situation with respect to any activities intended to take place on its land and make decisions based on the Government advice in place at the time.