1. I’ve already paid for a ticket. Can I get a refund?
A full refund can be arranged for everyone. Do let us know if that is your wish.
Alternatively, you may wish to use the sum you have paid to reserve your ticket for next year, with a guarantee of no price rises.
Another possibility, which some people have already been considering, is to donate all or part of the refund as a gift to the festival.
2. Why not just postpone?
There is currently no way of knowing how long this crisis will last, so we could re-schedule and then find ourselves in a similar position.
There is already a full programme of festival dates through the Autumn so finding an alternative free weekend would be difficult.
Even if we found a weekend before it becomes too cold for camping, ensuring that the essential venues and infrastructure suppliers are available could be difficult before we even start thinking about the artists’ availability.
3. Could you do something else instead?
Once we have a clearer idea of how long COVID19 is going to be causing problems, there is a suggestion that we might organise a lower key event. If it takes place, it is more likely to be a smaller, local affair but do keep an eye on the website for further information.
4. How viable are future festivals?
Chester Folk Festival is run entirely by volunteers. Were that not the case then the amount of time and work that has already gone into organising this year’s festival would make this cancellation a financial catastrophe.
As it is, the large group of people involved do this for love – which is as well; we couldn’t afford to pay them for their unstinting gifts of their time and their skills.
We have already had to pay out some sums in advance, which has put a dent in our finances. No one likes being in that position; however, the situation is not dire and we feel confident of getting back to normal in a year’s time.
5. What about this year’s booked artists?
We believe we had a really good line up of guests for this year’s festival. We also had some unusual and interesting events planned.
We hope to carry some, if not all, of those forward to next year, subject to featured artists being available and willing to make their way to Kelsall in May 2021.
6. Is there anything we can do to help?
As with all folk clubs, concerts and festivals who are having to cancel events at this time, we have taken a financial hit. A donation or gift would help us to make the future of the festival more secure.
In addition, perhaps we could encourage you to consider some way that you could give support to some of the artists whose bookings we have had to cancel, many of whom rely on festival gigs as their main source of income. As Pete Heywood wrote in his editorial in Living Tradition:
"Artists rely on income from gigs, and also on the CD sales they make at those gigs. So maybe now is the time to use the money you would have spent on a concert ticket to buy a CD directly from the artist – it could make all the difference to them – or maybe it’s the time to book a Skype lesson while the artist has more time on their hands to teach you."
Kelda Manley, of TRJ Management, has set up a Facebook Folk Auction site to raise funds for the many people from our Folk Community who are hurting at the moment. Please do consider whether you can join the group to donate or bid for items.
Do consider giving whatever you can to crowdfunding appeals where a small amount from a lot of people can make a big difference to someone.