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Three big summer events cancelled in Great Yarmouth

PUBLISHED: 18:26 18 May 2020 | UPDATED: 13:46 19 May 2020

Thousands of people usually come to the Wheels Festival, held in Great Yarmouth in July. Picture: James Bass

Thousands of people usually come to the Wheels Festival, held in Great Yarmouth in July. Picture: James Bass

© James Bass 2018

A trio of festival organisers have announced the “unavoidable cancellation” of summer events in one Norfolk seaside town.

Great Yarmouth Wheels Festival. Picture: Neil DidsburyGreat Yarmouth Wheels Festival. Picture: Neil Didsbury

Due to the coronavirus pandemic and the need to protect public safety, organisers have taken the unprecedented decision to cancel Great Yarmouth’s Wheels Festival, Maritime Festival and Out There Festival - which each attract visitor numbers in the thousands.

Instead, the plan is to stage an “exciting summer events season in 2021” to facilitate economic recovery following the aftermath of lockdown.

Carl Smith, leader of Great Yarmouth Borough Council, which normally hosts 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.

Great Yarmouth Wheels Festival. Picture: Neil DidsburyGreat Yarmouth Wheels Festival. Picture: Neil Didsbury

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“But we look forward and hope to see Wheels rolling again in 2021.”

Likewise, Maritime Festival organiser and chairman of the Greater Yarmouth Tourism and Business Improvement Area (GYTABIA), Lyndon Bevan, said: “After detailed consideration and much regret we have taken the decision to cancel our events for this summer.

“This also includes Great Yarmouth and Hemsby’s summer firework display.”

Great Yarmouth Maritime Festival 2019. Picture: James Bass PhotographyGreat Yarmouth Maritime Festival 2019. Picture: James Bass Photography

“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.

Director of SeaChange Arts, Joe Mackintosh, which hosts the Out There Festival in September, added: “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.

“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 said: “In the meantime, we have created free online circus tutorials for all the family and are implementing a circus equipment giveaway to support wellbeing and provide healthy activities to the young people of Great Yarmouth.”


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