Two popular summer events in Romsey attracting thousands of revellers have been cancelled amid the coronavirus crisis, it has been revealed.
It was announced today Beggars Fair and the Romsey Festival, which rake in over 6,000 visitors throughout July, were called off in a bid to keep visitors, performers and volunteers safe from the deadly virus.
Now Romsey town centre manager, Mark Edgerley, has said he is “extremely disappointed” both events have been cancelled, which have been running since 1984 and 1993.
Mr Edgerley said: “I am extremely disappointed because I hate to think how many hours we have put into organising the Romsey Festival and Beggars Fair.
“Our primary consideration is the safety of audiences, performers and volunteers who make these events possible.
“We especially need to give certainty to performers and venues so they can make their own plans for this summer in what are very difficult commercial times.”
However, Mr Edgerley pledged Beggars Fair is set to go ahead on the “second Saturday of July” in 2021, adding an announcement will be made about the Romsey Festival next month to see if it will run in 2021.
He added: “We will get through COVID-19 and will once again come together to celebrate the amazing talent that makes our events so popular.
“It is likely public events will be arranged to enjoy freedoms found at the end of present lockdown; rest assured our teams will be at the forefront of supporting any events in the Romsey area.”
Chair of Beggars Fair, Delsia Bartlett, said: “Since it’s inception this is the first time that the Beggars Fair has been cancelled, the decision is a huge disappointment to those volunteers who work so hard each year to ensure the event is enjoyed by so many residents and visitors to Romsey.
“But the Beggars Fair intends to return in 2021, entertaining in its unique way.”
Chair of Romsey Festival, Liz Wagner, said: “The festival committee is so disappointed to have to cancel the 2020 Romsey Festival as we were hoping that is would be a light at the end of a very dark COVID-19 tunnel, but it’s now obvious that this is not possible.
“We are, however, exploring the possibilities that Festival 2020 may become Festival 2021 – watch this space!”
Beggars Fair was due to happen on July 11 and the Romsey Festival would have run from July 4 to July 19.
Beggars Fair kicked off in 1993 and the Romsey Festival began in 1993.