SO disappointing: Major annual arts festival for coast is cancelled

A popular annual arts festival held at venues along the East Coast is the latest major event to be cancelled due to the Coronavirus Pandemic.
The SO Festival has been cancelled until August 2021.The SO Festival has been cancelled until August 2021.
The SO Festival has been cancelled until August 2021.

The SO Festival was due to take place from August 21 to August 23.

Since 2009, the free, outdoor, cultural arts festival has become renowned for uniting the best local and international talent to provide an enriching experience for locals, visitors and holidaymakers.

Organised by Magna Vitae Trust for Leisure & Culture, the 2019 festival programme featured a unique blend of art forms, including inventive puppetry, modern dance, interactive slapstick, daring acrobatics and street theatre, as well as art exhibitions, family-friendly activities and expert-led workshops.

Over the years, the festival has received significant investment from East Lindsey District Council and support from Arts Council England and is now a partner of Without Walls Touring Network Partnership.

A statement regarding the cancellation says: "Considering the current worldwide situation with regards to the Coronavirus Pandemic we have arrived at the view that we must cancel SO Festival 2020.

"This decision has not been taken lightly but was ultimately unavoidable.

"We have been working hard over the past month to find a way of being able to deliver SO Festival 2020 but sadly this has not been possible. The health of everybody attending SO Festival must always be our first priority and our ability to plan efficiently and with confidence during this pandemic has been drastically affected.

"We are unable to conduct site visits with our artists production teams, suppliers and key services such as event first aid providers have currently refocused their business to support the NHS and the wider care sector.

"Half of our programme would have been International artists, for whom the ability to travel is very uncertain.

"Lastly, we want to ensure SO Festival is able to comeback in its traditional format in future years and to achieve this under the current circumstances we need to financially and artistically

prepare to ensure we are as a company best placed to succeed in this challenge."

Jens Frimann Hansen, Artistic Director said: "It is a sad decision to cancel our fantastic festival in 2020, but we must prioritise the health, well-being and safety of all of our audience, artists, participants, staff, volunteers and local community during current events.

"We understand that this may be disappointing news for members of the local community and those that attend the event each year but given the current situation, we hope you understand that this is the responsible thing to do.

"We are working hard to support the local creative and cultural sector during this difficult time.

"Currently we are offering advice and guidance to individuals and organisations during this difficult time. It is too early to outline specific details, but we are also working on plans to create a digital version of the Festival, to encourage discussion and debate around the challenges the outdoor arts sector faces in these unprecedented times.

"We are also planning a range of commissioning opportunities for artists and creatives.

"Details will be published on our website and social media in the coming weeks.

"In the meantime, while we all try and stay well at home, we are continuing to promote all online and virtual arts events, classes and performances on our website and via social media so if you have something you’d like us to share, let us know.

"We look forward to seeing you at SO Festival 2021 which will take place on the 20,21 and 22 August 2021. In the meantime, look after each other and stay safe."