Wyre Forest District Council has confirmed that the programme of summer events in the district has been cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The decision has been taken because of factors such as the impossibility of maintaining social distancing in the events or the impact on financial viability of events if they were to proceed with social distancing in place.

Councillor Helen Dyke, Wyre Forest District Council’s Cabinet member for Culture, Leisure and Community Protection, said: “With regret, we have reached the conclusion that it is not possible for the events to go ahead safely in light of current guidance on social distancing. Many other similar events across the country have already been cancelled for the summer months, from rock concerts and theatre performances to flower shows and arts festivals. It would not be responsible for the council to go ahead with its own programme of events and increase the risk of spreading the disease for local residents and others who attend.”

The announcement affects the Country and Western festival at Stourport (1 August), Play day in Stourport (5 August) and the programme of activities for young people throughout the summer holidays. In addition, performances of The Great Gatsby, Mr Stink and Boogaloo Babes at Bewdley Museum have been cancelled with two of them already rearranged for dates in the summer of 2021. Where people have bought tickets and the event is not being rescheduled, arrangements will be made to provide refunds.

Councillor Dyke added: “Unfortunately 2020 is the final year that the district council will be able to fund the summer activities programme including events such as the Country and Western Festival. If town councils or other sponsors come forward to take on responsibility for funding the events in 2021, they will return next year. This was made clear in the medium term financial strategy that was published in December 2019 and there is plenty of time for new funders and organisers to come forward in time for summer 2021. Work is also progressing on establishing Bewdley Museum as an independent charitable trust by spring 2021 and it will be responsible for the programme of events after it assumes responsibility for running the museum from the district council.”