Press statement for release on 1 June 2020
The Presteigne Festival board recently made the difficult decision to cancel the 2020 Festival.
Whilst this is extremely sad both for our regular audience and all the artists, support staff and
volunteers involved, it is imperative that the health and safety of the wider Festival community
should be of paramount importance.
However, the organisation has managed to arrange an exciting alternative to the 2020 Festival
comprising Presteigne Digital (a series of specially-filmed mini-concerts to be streamed via the
Presteigne Festival website), a Winter Festival Weekend and the Festival Orchestra’s first
commercial recording project for the Resonus label, highlighting past Presteigne commissions.
Presteigne Digital, which runs from 24-27 August and will be available to view at any time after
that, will feature performances from the Carducci Quartet, Amy Dickson, Christopher Good, Clare
Hammond, Tim Horton, Mathilde Milwidsky, Bradley Smith, Oliver Wass and members of Nova
Music Opera in repertoire which was to have been featured at the 2020 Festival – six newly
commissioned works from Martin Butler, Amelia Clarkson, Ninfea Cruttwell-Reade, Robin Haigh,
Joseph Phibbs and Emma-Ruth Richards, contemporary British pieces and music by Beethoven,
Britten, Janáček and Schubert.
The programme for the first ever Presteigne Winter Festival Weekend will be announced in mid-August.
A nine-event celebration of string and vocal chamber music supported with literary and
music talks, similarly comprises content originally programmed for the 2020 Festival. All events,
which are planned to take place from 27-29 November (coinciding with the first Sunday of
Advent), will be given to a small, socially distanced audience at St Andrew’s Church.
The Festival is extremely grateful to many of its grant funders and individual patrons for agreeing
to maintain financial support at this difficult time. These alternative projects, and the 2021
Festival, would be impossible to realise without their understanding. Irrespective of this generous
assistance, ticket income so vital to our organisation could be reduced by as much as £24,000.
Finances and the Festival’s future are delicately poised.
Many freelance artists are struggling financially due to the effects of COVID-19. In arranging the
activities outlined above, the Presteigne Festival is now able to guarantee much needed
performance or cancellation fees for all the artists who had been engaged to appear at the 2020
Artistic Director George Vass commented ‘Whilst this imposes considerable financial stress on the
organisation, artists and composers are at the very core of our activity; without them the Festival
would be nothing at all – we have to support them all we can’.
This is the first time in 38 years that the Presteigne Festival has been forced to cancel. It is hoped
that this will be the last – plans are currently being made for the 2021 edition, which will run from
26-30 August next year.