‘It is the right thing to do’ – organisers postpone annual music festival

PUBLISHED: 10:00 09 April 2020 | UPDATED: 10:08 09 April 2020

Willow volunteers at Hatfield music festival Folk by the Oak last summer. The festival will now return in 2021. Picture: Jean S. B-C. Mower-Allard

Willow volunteers at Hatfield music festival Folk by the Oak last summer. The festival will now return in 2021. Picture: Jean S. B-C. Mower-Allard

Jean S. B-C. Mower-Allard

Popular Hertfordshire music festival Folk by the Oak in Hatfield has been postponed until 2021.

Folk festival favourite Kate Rusby will return to Hatfield House for Folk by the Oak 2021 after this year's festival was postponed. Picture: Supplied by Folk by the OakFolk festival favourite Kate Rusby will return to Hatfield House for Folk by the Oak 2021 after this year's festival was postponed. Picture: Supplied by Folk by the Oak

Organisers of Folk by the Oak have “with heavy hearts” decided to call off this July’s festival due to the ongoing coronavirus situation.

The all-day music event was scheduled to take place at Hatfield House on Sunday, July 19.

The 13th Folk by the Oak will not now happen in the grounds of the Hertfordshire stately home until Sunday, July 18, 2021.

Blues musician Seasick Steve will now headline Folk by the Oak 2021 in Hatfield after the 2020 festival was postponed. Picture: Supplied by Folk by the OakBlues musician Seasick Steve will now headline Folk by the Oak 2021 in Hatfield after the 2020 festival was postponed. Picture: Supplied by Folk by the Oak

American bluesman Seasick Steve and folk favourite Kate Rusby, who were both down to play this summer’s showcase, have already confirmed they will play Hatfield next year.

Of the postponement, event director Adam Slough said: “Whilst it is with very heavy hearts that we bring you this news, we know that it is the right thing to do.

“We take our responsibility for our festival-goers, artists, crew, and wider community very seriously.

Fireworks at Folk by the Oak 2019 at Hatfield House. Picture: Alan DaviesFireworks at Folk by the Oak 2019 at Hatfield House. Picture: Alan Davies

“The safety of our incredible Folk by the Oak family has been put in doubt by the uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 outbreak, and we have therefore taken the decision not to stage the festival in 2020.”

Since 2008, Hatfield House has welcomed a gathering of some of the world’s finest folk, roots and acoustic performers for a day of sublime music and family fun in the leafy surrounds of the Queen Elizabeth Oak Field.

Over the years Folk by the Oak has gathered momentum and grown into the UK’s largest one-day folk festival, with a loyal following of music lovers and families seeking a fabulous day out.

Willow fundraisers at Hatfield music festival Folk by the Oak last summer. Picture: Jean S. B-C. Mower-AllardWillow fundraisers at Hatfield music festival Folk by the Oak last summer. Picture: Jean S. B-C. Mower-Allard

Last year’s festival was headlined by Frank Turner and The Sleeping Souls.

What 2020 ticket holders need to know:

Willow's stall at Hatfield music festival Folk by the Oak. Picture: Jean S. B-C. Mower-AllardWillow's stall at Hatfield music festival Folk by the Oak. Picture: Jean S. B-C. Mower-Allard

The 13th annual Folk by the Oak will now take place on Sunday, July 18, 2021.

“We were very excited about our 2020 line-up,” said Adam Slough, of JSL Productions, the team behind FBTO and the Battle Proms concert.

“And we are working hard to ensure that the programme will be replicated as far as possible in 2021.

Folk by the Oak 2019 at Hatfield House. Pictures: John AndrewsFolk by the Oak 2019 at Hatfield House. Pictures: John Andrews

“We are over the moon that headliner Seasick Steve and Folk by the Oak favourite Kate Rusby are already confirmed.

“Further details of the line-up will be announced as soon as we are able.”

If you have booked tickets for this year’s festival, the organisers will contact you via email.

Singer Julie Fowlis took this picture of the Folk by the Oak crowd from the stage during The Lost Words - Spell Songs set at Hatfield House last summer. Picture: Julie FowlisSinger Julie Fowlis took this picture of the Folk by the Oak crowd from the stage during The Lost Words - Spell Songs set at Hatfield House last summer. Picture: Julie Fowlis

Your tickets will automatically be carried over to Folk by the Oak in 2021.

Full refunds are also available until September 1, 2020.

If you wish to carry your booking over to next year you do not need to take any action now.

You will automatically be sent new tickets in the autumn.

To show their gratitude, festival organisers will also enter you into a VIP prize draw which includes a backstage tour, catering vouchers, a bottle of bubbly and a Folk by the Oak goody bag.

As well as asking customers to ensure Folk by the Oak is around for many more years to come by rolling their tickets over to 2021, promoters are encouraging people to consider their long-term charity partner, Willow.

Welwyn Hatfield-based Willow is the only national charity working with seriously ill young adults aged 16 to 40 to fulfil uplifting and unforgettable Special Days.

Willow was founded by former Arsenal goalkeeper Bob Wilson and wife Megs as a lasting memorial to their daughter, Anna, who died of cancer aged 31.

To date, Folk by the Oak has raised £81,000 for its charity partner through ticket contributions and the generosity of the audience on the day of the festival.

The festival team are asking those who would have attended this year and donated to Willow to consider helping them to ride out the current crisis by making a donation at www.willowfoundation.org.uk/folk-oak-donate

In a final word to FBTO’s audience, Adam added: “We have such loyal and enthusiastic followers, and we know that you will all be as saddened by this announcement as we are.

“The summer really will be a lot less colourful without you, but we are already busy planning for 2021, and looking forward to welcoming you back for a much-needed day of sublime music and festival fun.”

Visit Folk by the Oak’s website at www.folkbytheoak.com for more on the festival.

For more on Willow, visit www.willowfoundation.org.uk


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