Return of Wheels Festival postponed until 2022 - but smaller car displays planned for this summer
The return of Great Yarmouth Wheels Festival is postponed until 2022 to ensure it can come back "full throttle" - but people can still look forward to smaller car displays being planned for the seafront this year.
The festival, organised by Great Yarmouth Borough Council in conjunction with the Wheels steering group, is one of the largest of its kind in the region and usually takes 10 to 12 months to plan.
But the covid pandemic and associated restrictions have significantly cut the lead-times for planning festivals for this year, and organisers are still awaiting the national guidance around how large festivals could be held safely from June 21.
Cllr Carl Smith, leader of Great Yarmouth Borough Council, said: "While it's sad, we hope most people will understand that planning, promoting and delivering a great festival of this size takes a certain amount of lead time.
"The landscape for festival planning has been very uncertain over this last year and remains so for the biggest events as we await the outcomes and guidance from the Government's event pilots.
"Wheels delivers well for visitors and the local economy because it is unticketed and unenclosed, with the whole seafront being the event space and people moving around freely between the exhibits and businesses.
"Instead of attempting a small short-notice festival that falls short of expectations, we're instead planning ahead for 2022 so Wheels can return full-throttle, while liaising with private event planners about their plans for holding smaller covid-safe car displays on the seafront this summer."
Wheels co-founder Michael Cole, of Joyland and the American Diner, who is on the steering group, said: "The covid situation unfortunately means there simply isn't enough time or certainty for planning an event of this magnitude for the summer, and if we tried then it wouldn't look like Wheels, wouldn't be as large or enjoyable, or bring the benefits for business and the resort.
"Wheels will return, bigger and better, in 2022. But for 2021, Joyland and the American Diner are working with the East Coast Pirates car enthusiasts to bring covid-safe car meet ups every first and third Sunday of each month throughout the summer, as well as special events on July 4 and September 4 and 5. So there is still plenty to look forward to, both this year and next."