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Black Deer Festival and Rochester Castle Concerts at risk of being cancelled following delay to June 21 end to lockdown

Events across Kent are in doubt following the news that lockdown won't end on June 21.

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Boris Johnson announced a four week delay to the final stage of the roadmap.

June 21 would have seen larger events being allowed to go ahead, including festivals and nightclubs - effectively an end to the social distancing we have all become so used to since March 2020.

The news is devastating for an industry that has struggled for survival since the pandemic first began.

Here are all the events that are in jeopardy following the delay to the end of lockdown.

Black Deer Festival (June 25-27)

Black Deer Festival in 2018. Picture: Louise Roberts
Black Deer Festival in 2018. Picture: Louise Roberts

Kent's Americana and country music festival already moved its dates once, following Boris Johnson's first announcement of the roadmap out of lockdown.

Black Deer, based at Eridge Park, near Tunbridge Wells, have been planning to welcome 20,000 ticket-holders through its gates on June 25-27.

But the news of a delay to the final stage of the roadmap means the festival may not be able to go ahead.

With plenty of famous names on the line up, including Frank Turner, Van Morrison and Led Zeppelin legend Robert Plant, the festival could have no choice but to tell these artists they won't be able to perform to the fans.

But will the organisers be able to rearrange to later in the summer?

Robert Plant is on the line up for this year's Black Deer Festival
Robert Plant is on the line up for this year's Black Deer Festival

Most musicians who play summer festivals do so as part of a festival circuit tour, which could see them play everywhere from the US to Europe and Asia across the summer months.

With meticulously mapped schedules and extensive Covid rules for each country, it may not be possible for them to make a later date - especially as there is always a possibility the government may move the date once again if cases continue to rise.

Revelation Ashford (June 23, 36)

Based just off the high street, Ashford's Revelation, based in St Mary the Virgin Church, has been preparing to restart its music events during the first week of the government restrictions ending.

The pop-up arts venue has scheduled two events - a DJ set from Huey Morgan of the Fun Lovin' Criminals on June 23, followed by East Sussex band Toploader on June 26.

The events take place inside the church. Image: Google Maps
The events take place inside the church. Image: Google Maps

But they will not be going ahead if the lockdown end is confirmed to be delayed.

Debra McGee, CEO at Revelation, said: "We can't run these events to the standard we'd like to if we have to socially distance - its not fair on our customers or staff."

Ramsgate Music Hall (June 26 onwards)

Thanet's celebrated music venue was due to kick off live music once again with a DJ set from Richard Fearless, and a week later a live set from indie band Sarpa Salpa.

On Saturday, July 10, Steve White & The Protest Family were also due to perform at the hall, with all proceeds going to the Covid Bereaved Families for Justice.

Andre runs the Ramsgate Music Hall
Andre runs the Ramsgate Music Hall

But with 'freedom day' delayed, this tightly-packed venue would not be able to accommodate a crowd and stick to the existing social distancing measures.

Andre Dack, manager of the venue, said: "For us it’s another month without any income and attempting to reschedule the same shows for the 4th/5th times.

"Mentally and emotionally it is devastating. It being leaked to the press again doesn’t sit well, either."

Some are also questioning why small gigs can not go ahead, but a large-scale event like England v Croatia at Wembley Stadium yesterday was able to.

Mark Davyd, founder and CEO of the Music Venue Trust, this morning tweeted: "Just been on Radio 5 Live where the presenter suggested that the celebration of the football with singing, dancing, no social distancing, no masks, was different to those same activities taking place in music venues because it was 'outdoors'.

He tweeted along with a video of crowds at the Euro 2020 match yesterday not socially distancing, adding: "Wembley Stadium. Yesterday. Indoors."

Revival: Ibiza Classical (June 26)

The one-day festival in Mote Park, Maidstone, is due to return in the final weekend of June with the Symphonic Ibiza Orchestra.

It's hosting special guests The Lisa Marie Experience, Trickster, Hysteric Ego, and Porn Kings.

Revival was one of the few music events to take place in the summer of 2020 - the organisers kept the audience to separate 'pods' to minimise the potential spread of the Covid-19.

This festival day is being billed as one of the first restriction-free festivals to take place post-pandemic, but the latest lockdown delay may put hold to that.

Together Festival (June 27)

Taking place in Mote Park a day after Revival, Together Festival planned to bring together tribute acts, local bands and Live DJs across the afternoon and evening, all in aid of supporting the NHS.

The ticket website states: "Together is a free community event, celebrating the sacrifice made by our incredible key workers, with live music, fairground rides and more!"

KentOnline has contacted the organisers of both Revival and Together, but has not yet been able to confirm whether or not the event will still go ahead if restrictions remain.

UB40 playing Rochester Castle Concerts in 2018. Picture: Steve Crispe
UB40 playing Rochester Castle Concerts in 2018. Picture: Steve Crispe

Rochester Castle Concerts (July 8-10)

Last year’s Rochester Castle Concerts were rescheduled after it was clear live music events in 2020 could not go ahead under social distancing guidelines.

The dates of July 8-10 would have given organisers AGMP two week's grace after the PM's final lockdown-easing step - but with the latest news it may have to cancel for a second year in a row.

In April, the organisers announced that The Jacksons had been replaced with Soul II Soul, leaving them with an all-British line up - this could make a potential rearrangement a lot easier though, as there won't be any artists on the bill who will have to contend with international travel restrictions.

Leeds Castle Concert (July 10)

The Leeds Castle Concert has been planning to return after 2020's cancellation
The Leeds Castle Concert has been planning to return after 2020's cancellation

2020 marked the first time in 42 years that the incredibly popular Leeds Castle Concert was unable to go ahead.

The open-air gig often attracts up to 10,000 people for picnicking, promenading, fireworks and a Spitfire flypast.

But this year could be the second in a row without the event taking place.

The day plans to feature performances from the Philharmonic Orchestra and the Down for the Count Swing Orchestra.

The Kent County Summer Fayre (July 10-11)

Kent County Show. Picture: Thomas Alexander
Kent County Show. Picture: Thomas Alexander

This year's Kent County Show has been scaled back - hence the name change to 'summer fayre'.

In a statement released on May 6, the organisers explained it could not risk the usual large-scale show being pulled "at the last minute" due to a delay in the government's roadmap.

The Kent Agricultural Society's replacement event plans to feature some of the well known aspects of the county show such as show jumping, vintage vehicles, woodland area and live music, as well as trade stands and catering options to suit all tastes.

So will it be able to go ahead following the Prime Minister's expected announcement?

Due to the scaled-back nature of the fayre, it might be that the organisers have just enough time to put the relevant social distancing measures in place to allow the event to go ahead.

KentOnline has contacted the Kent Agricultural Society for comment.

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