Billy Bragg: Glastonbury cancellation a ‘bit of a shock’

Billy Bragg has said Glastonbury’s cancellation for the second consecutive year is a “bit of a shock”.

Organisers said that “in spite of our efforts to move Heaven and Earth”, the pandemic means we “simply will not be able to make the festival happen this year”.

Singer-songwriter Bragg, 63, told BBC Breakfast: “I don’t think it was inevitable.”

He added: “Glastonbury was one of those big things where we all thought, ‘OK that’s a landmark there.

“‘If we can get to Glasto, then… it’s a real signal to the rest of the festival diaspora that things are going to happen again’.

“So, losing it again for another year is a bit of a shock.”

He added: “It’s a festival that does have a fallow year so they can deal with that.

“But for all the people who go there and all the people who work as part of it, it’s a real loss.”

Bragg, who has organised the festival’s Left Field tent, hopes venues and festivals will still be standing once the pandemic is over.

“Once this ends, people will want to get together and listen to music again because there’s something you can get from gathering together in a crowd to listen to music… and you can’t get that on the internet,” he said.

“Once this is over people will want to come back to gigs again, whether it is small gigs, or something like Glastonbury.

“It’s just the hope that those venues and those festivals are still going to be there.”

Bragg is revisiting his Essex roots for a BBC Radio 3 documentary, Metropolitan Essex, airing on Monday night.

Asked about the Essex “stereotype” by Breakfast host Dan Walker, Bragg said: “I wish you’d stop calling it a stereotype Dan, it’s a character!

“It’s a part of the Essex character… It’s as much a part of Essex as Constable and the aspects of the county, our cricket.”