POCKLINGTON’S 2020 Platform Festival, headlined by Robert Plant’s new band in July, is off.
Run by Pocklington Arts Centre (PAC) at The Old Station, the annual festival has “very sadly has been cancelled for Covid-19 health and safety reasons”.
The organisers, PAC director Janet Farmer and venue manager James Duffy, are working on transferring all the 2020 programme to July 21 to 27 2021 and will keep festival-goers updated over the coming weeks.
“We will weather this storm and return in 2021 stronger and more vibrant than ever,” they vow.
The 2020 line-up would have opened with comedian Omid Djalili on July 8, followed by Led Zeppelin frontman Robert Plant’s Saving Grace with Suzi Dian on July 10, and a Saturday bill on three stages, featuring Shed Seven Acoustic: Rick Witter & Paul Banks, Red Hot Chilli Pipers, Ward Thomas, Lucy Spraggan and York country singer Twinnie on July 11.
The BBC Big Band on July 14 and folk-rock stalwart Richard Thompson on July 15 would have completed the festival line-up.
In a joint statement, heartbroken Janet and James say: “Following the continuing developments in the COVID-19 pandemic, we have taken the difficult decision to cancel this year’s Platform Festival.
“The safety of our audience members, artists, staff, volunteers and wider community has to come first and we did not want to put additional pressure on the health and emergency services at this time.”
Janet and James continue: “Platform is a labour of love, for PAC staff, and being unable to share it with you all in the venue’s 20th anniversary year is heart-breaking. It is, of course, the choice we had hoped we wouldn’t have to make.
“We looked at the possibility of staging the event at a later date in 2020 but the most important thing for us, other than your obvious safety, is to give our customers certainty and so we have made the decision to move this year’s festival to July 2021.”
Praising Platform’s regular festival-goers, they say: “Platform is nothing without our audience, you make it the great festival that it is. We want to thank you for your patience, support and understanding with us, while we have been working to reschedule the festival for you. We will weather this storm and return in 2021 stronger and more vibrant than ever.”
Dealing with housekeeping matters, they confirm: “If you have already booked your tickets, rest assured these are secured. You will be offered the choice of a refund or the chance to hold on to your tickets for the 2021 edition.
“We plan to carry as much of the programme as possible forward and, so far, almost all artists have agreed to work with us on this, which is amazing. We will, of course, keep you updated and we hope to have this all finalised in the coming weeks.
“Please be patient and wait to hear from us. Our box office – and external ticket agencies – is extremely busy and we will contact you in due course.”
Janet and James conclude: “Platform 2021 will take place on July 22 to 27 and we would love to see you all there for our biggest party yet. Stay home, stay safe and look after each other. For urgent enquiries, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
“If you are in a position to support Pocklington Arts Centre and Platform Festival, we have set up a crowdfunding page via https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/pac.”
Meanwhile, Pocklington Arts Centre has released an updated list of rescheduled shows for 2020/21, with the prospect of more being added in the coming weeks and months.
The Wandering Hearts, winners of the 2018 Bob Harris Emerging Artist Award at the UK Americana Awards, move their sold-out In Harmony, An Intimate Tour show from April 14 to August 27 2020.
Mary Coughlan, “Ireland’s Billie Holiday”, switches her April 21 gig to September 23; inquisitive folk truth seeker John Smith, from May 21 to November 3, and American singer-songwriter Jesse Malin, June 27 to February 2 2021.
BBC Radio 2 and Channel 5 presenter Jeremy Vine now asks “What the hell is going on?” on February 26 2021, rather than May 1 2020.
Billy Bremner & Me, comedian Phil Differ’s comedy-drama recounting his dream of eclipsing the fiery Leeds United and Scotland captain’s footballing deeds, moves from June 5 to March 11 2021; Herman’s Hermits re-emerge on April 22 next spring, and Mock The Week comedian Andy Parsons’ sold-out April 28 gig is re-booked for April 24 2021.
Led as ever by vocalist Maddy Prior, folk favourites Steeleye Span’s 50th anniversary celebrations of debut album Hark The Village Wait will have to wait until its 51st anniversary, their show now moved from May 3 2020 to May 7 2021.
BBC Radio 2 Folk Award winners Catrin Finch, from Wales, and Seckou Keita, from Senegal, will be joined by Canadian multi-instrumental trio Vishten on June 10 next summer, rather than June 13 2020 as first planned.
The Felice Brothers, from the Catskill Mountains, New York State, will be playing almost a year to the day later than their original booking. Ian and James Felice, joined by drummer Will Lawrence and bass Jesske Hume, are in the PAC diary for June 22 2021, replacing June 23 this summer.
The spotlight would have been on their 2019 album Undress, as well as their back catalogue from 2006 onwards, but now there should be new material too.
A new date for American country singer Courtney Marie Andrews’ now postponed June 17 concert with her full band should be confirmed in the next week. Her new album Old Flowers will be released on Loose/Fat Possum Records on June 5.
All existing tickets holders for the rescheduled shows are being contacted by the PAC box office for ticket transfers or refunds.