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St Magnus Festival cancelled

The St Magnus International Festival has joined the increasing list of scheduled public events which have been cancelled as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. 

The 44th edition of the annual arts and music festival —  one of Orkney’s biggest and best-attended cultural events — had been due to take place this June. But it was confirmed today, Monday, that organisers would not be pushing ahead with plans, given the current climate. 

The St Magnus Festival team said that they wish to make sure that performers, staff, volunteers and audiences are not put at any risk and recognise that the only option is to call a halt to preparations for this year. 

Festival director, Alasdair Nicolson said: “It’s with great sadness that we cancel this year’s Festival, but these are extraordinary times and we must be safe. 

“It’s heartbreaking for me, and the team, to start dismantling something that I’ve been putting together for such a long time and to lose a wonderful array of performers, creative projects and new work. 

“St Magnus International Festival represents the beginning of the summer festival season in the UK and is such a significant part of the financial and cultural eco-system of Orkney.  I hope that while we protect the health of our fellow human beings that we can also protect the Festival and return next year fighting fit.”

Chairman of the St Magnus Festival board, John Rendall said: “We’re hugely disappointed to be cancelling the 2020 St Magnus International Festival.  Our short-term focus will be on unwinding the arrangements for this year’s event. 

“We look forward to preparing for a great 2021 festival.  In the meantime, we send our best wishes to our performers, to our volunteers, to our supporters, to our audience and to the wider community.”

“The Festival is aware that its cancellation will have a knock-on effect on the local economy of Orkney and our partners in travel and accommodation especially and the Festival thanks all of those for their patience while we deconstruct this year’s event.”

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