Coronavirus: Music festival due to be held at Butlin’s in Bognor Regis is postponed

Organisers behind a music festival due to be held at Butlin’s resort in Bognor Regis has ‘expressed its deepest sympathy for all our many friends from all over the world’ after the event was postponed this afternoon.

The Southport Weekender, which was due to return this weekend after a five-year break, said the postponement was forced by the government’s advice for the public to avoid social venues due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Despite the inevitable disappointment, it’s a decision which will be welcomed by a number of ticket holders who were concerned that the event was still going ahead as planned despite the Covid-19 crisis.

Notifying followers on Facebook, Alex Lowes, founder of the Southport Weekender, wrote: “I hope you understand we have all been under the kind of pressure we have never felt before; not knowing what to do, or when, whilst all the while knowing how many people this will affect as well as the impact it will have on our suppliers and by extension of that people’s livelihoods.

The event was due to be held at Butlin's in Bognor Regis. Photo: Google Street View

“We have also had considerable contractual and, as much as I hate saying it, financial obligations to try and fulfil. Following the UK Government & health experts advice late Thursday afternoon that it was effectively all systems go, we had to continue. Who were we to argue?

“We are just promoters and avid music fans like yourselves and were merely following advice from the experts at a time when it must be remembered that many venues remained open, not least the world famous Cheltenham Festival which had hundreds of thousands of people passing through their turnstiles.

“I have the deepest sympathy for all our many friends from all over the world who even before this announcement had their beloved Southport taken away, and much as its been very hurtful to us, we totally understand your frustration.”

The organisers said it had already been under ‘significant pressure’ putting on an event ‘of this size’ without the national and international situation.

“My apologies once again go out to all of you for our silence, we just couldn’t actually cope,” the statement continued. “We are after all only human and these are totally unprecedented times.

“Following the government announcement last night regarding social distancing which was ambiguous, to say the least, we have continued to be locked into negotiations with Butlin’s who have worked with us to put forward a plan that we hope you appreciate.

“Butlin’s, all the agents, the artists, in fact everybody is behind us to give you the party of parties on its return. The line up will be as close as possible and possibly even better than the one you expected.”

A revised date has not yet been confirmed but is expected to be announced later this week.

Meanwhile, Butlin’s, which remains open, has said it is ‘watching and following’ the latest government advice and is ‘working hard on what this means for your holiday’.

As of 10am this morning (Tuesday, March 17), Butlin’s confirmed there were no confirmed cases of the coronavirus at the resort.

A spokesman said: “Our Butlin’s Bognor Regis resort is open and welcoming guests. We are closely monitoring the developing situation and following government guidance.

“The safety and wellbeing of our guests and team is our number one priority and we are taking precautionary measures to reduce their risk of exposure.

“We have very strict cleaning procedures in place and have increased the number of sanitising dispensers around our resort.

“In addition, we are actively encouraging our guests and team to follow government and NHS advice on regular handwashing.

“We continue to communicate with our team on a regular basis to ensure they are clear about what steps they need to take should they or a guest feel unwell.”