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Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole take difficult decision to extend the cancellation of outdoor events until end of August 2020

Major events and festivals including Bournemouth Air Festival that were due to go ahead this summer have been cancelled due to the continued impact of the coronavirus outbreak.

Responding to the government’s guidance on the outbreak, BCP Council – with support of the Destination Management Board – has taken the decision not to permit outdoor events on council public open space until the end of August 2020. 

This includes, the cancellation of BCP Council organised events – the Bournemouth Air Festival, Summer Fireworks and summer events programme on Poole Quay.  Other events that have had to be cancelled include BSO Concerts in Meyrick Park and Christchurch Food Festival.

Councillor Vikki Slade, Leader of BCP Council, said; “Our immensely popular summer events programme, including the Bournemouth Air Festival, attracts millions of visitors to the area bringing over £32 million income to our local businesses and supports the council’s services through our seafront offering.

“In response to the recent government guidance around the easing of lockdown, it will no longer be possible that events planned to take place this summer in public outdoor open space can go ahead.

“Cancelling major events and festivals is a decision we don’t take lightly. The most important consideration is the health of our residents, and the safety of everyone involved including visitors, festival-goers, exhibitors, traders, staff, contractors, and the many more who contribute and play a part in delivering those much-loved events.  

“Our NHS and emergency services have coped incredibly well during the Covid-19 pandemic and we would not want to risk this changing, or to try to manage events whilst adhering to government measures and advice including on social distancing.

“The government’s guidance indicated that hospitality businesses are not likely to open before July.  We know there are many hotels, restaurants, bars and local contractors serving this industry whose livelihoods rely on the summer events programme and we want to assure those businesses – including the 17,000 plus people employed in this sector – that BCP Council will do everything we can to support you and work together with you to come through this.

“We’re looking at every feasible option to help to sustain this industry, and with this we have already committed to deliver a refreshed Air Festival in 2021.”

BCP Council and Destination Management Board for Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole will continue to work together in lobbying central government to ensure this vital sector is fully supported through the national recovery plan. 

David Bailey, Chairman of the Destination Management Board, said; “The Board fully understands the decision taken by BCP Council. It is very important that as the Destination of Bournemouth Christchurch and Poole we show we are taking the sensible measures and demonstrate that in the future we want to offer visitors and residents the safest environment to enjoy the unique tourism and hospitality offer. We thank BCP Council for its continued support and the confirmation of next year’s Bournemouth Air Festival.”

A Bournemouth Air Festival for next year has been confirmed for Thursday 2nd to Sunday 5th September 2021.

Dougie Scarfe, Chief Executive, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, “Our Proms in the Park concerts hosted in partnership with BCP Council are always a highlight of the summer season in Bournemouth; with audiences dancing away to our live music, the series is always a celebratory moment in the BSO year.  We know that loyal audiences will be sorry to miss the party this year, and we’ll miss you all too, but we look forward to seeing you next year for a spectacular celebration”.

Photo: Bournemouth Air Festival