TWO MAJOR events that draw in thousands of people from across the islands and further afield have become the latest victims of attempts to get the coronavirus pandemic under control.
The committees of both Shetland Folk Festival and the Shetland Classic Motor Show announced on Friday that they will reschedule their events.
A spokesperson for Shetland Folk Festival said that it was with regret that they decided to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the iconic music extravaganza not this year but over the last weekend of April 2021.
The next classic motor show, which is being held in June every second year, will now take place on 6 and 7 June 2022.
Speaking for the folk festival committee Louise Johnson said: “We have not taken this decision lightly, but after weeks of consulting venues, musicians, stakeholders and volunteers; the health and wellbeing of everyone in our community (and those who wish to come here) must be our priority.
“We want our 40th Festival to be a celebration of everything good about our islands, and recent measures such as global travel restrictions, limits on public gatherings and an understandable uncertainty amongst the most vulnerable in our community has led us to conclude that it’s better to wait another year to really do Shetland and its musical family justice.”
Colin Nicolson, the chairman of the motor show committee, said they had no choice but to cancel.
“With local confirmed cases of the virus emerging; the World Health Organisation declaring the outbreak a pandemic, and advice on large gatherings being issued, there really was only one choice, and that was to cancel the show,” he said.
“Whilst there will undoubtedly be disappointment among the many exhibitors, visitors, volunteers and organisers alike, it would have been irresponsible to endanger the health and wellbeing of those individuals, and that of the Clickimin staff. It could also have put unnecessary strain on the local health service.”
Nicolson added a final decision as to when to host the next classic motor show hasn’t been taken, but it was likely to be in June 2022.
“The first priority for the organisers is contacting the many exhibitors from out with Shetland who have already made travel and accommodation bookings,” he said.
“Organised tours around Shetland for the various categories of vehicles, on the two days immediately before and after the show weekend, are also cancelled.
He said there had been a number of ‘firsts’ lined up for the June show including a 1926 Bugatti Type 35B, a 1981 DMC DeLorean and a 2002 Honda XL650V Transalp motorcycle.
Meanwhile, Shetland Arts has announced that they are reducing the capacity of Mareel’s cinema screens by 40 per cent to allow more space between those watching movies.
The agency’s chief executive Graeme Howell said: “Until we are told otherwise Shetland Arts will remain open. We will continue to screen amazing films from all across the world and we will continue to host great events and exhibitions.
“We will be introducing certain steps over the next few days to make it possible for you to choose to still attend our venues but perhaps opt to leave more space between yourselves and others.”
However, the organisers of the Relay for Life, to be held at Clickimin at the end of May have said that “as it stands” their event would be going ahead as planned.
“However, we will be working closely with CRUK [Cancer Research UK] and NHS Shetland from now until our event at the end of May to ensure the safety of all people taking part.
“If you are planning a fundraising event in the near future and have any concerns we would advise that you contact NHS public health for the most up to date advice.”
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