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London’s VAULT Festival 2020: VAULT Festival 2020 closes a week early

Photo Credit: Tom Shannon

LONDON –  Following the announcement by the Prime Minister urging the general public not to visit ‘pubs, clubs, or theatres’, VAULT Festival has announced that it will not be opening its doors for its final week (Tuesday 17th – Sunday 22nd March) and will be closing with immediate effect. All participating artists, staff and collaborators have been contacted and a public statement was released across the Festival’s social media channels.

The statement was as follows:

Following the Prime Minister’s press conference advising audiences to stay away from theatres and pubs, Mat and Andy have had to take the decision to not open the Festival’s doors for its final week.

It is with broken hearts that we make this statement, but we know you will understand why. We cannot safely, nor would we want to, encourage people to act against explicit government advice. As of this moment, all future performances and events at VAULT Festival 2020 will not happen. We are deeply sad. Nonetheless, we are going to work as quickly as possible to let each participant know how this affects them, and we’re going to work as hard as possible to minimise the financial impact upon our artists and staff.

This will take some time. We ask for your patience while we do so, and we ask that you continue to treat each other with kindness, respect and love as we face this unprecedented challenge together. We will be in touch with more detail, and a full press release & statement, as soon as we can.

Festival Directors Mat Burtcher and Andy George now further comment: “During this time of crisis, we have tried our best to keep going, to continue to support our artists and staff, all of whom have invested hugely into their shows and projects and face vast amounts of financial and occupational uncertainty over the coming months. We have been gravely let down by our government’s inaction and small businesses everywhere have been forced into making unthinkable decisions. Our solidarity, support and love goes to all those affected, and to our artists and staff who have already been through so much with us.

VAULT Festival’s own financial position is more precarious than ever. The Festival receives no public funding and relies on the revenue generated to exist each year. The unusual nature of the financial deal VAULT Festival has with its artists means that VAULT Festival takes on a large amount of costs on the artists’ behalf, meaning they don’t pay anything upfront – this helps cover technical equipment, staffing, and marketing opportunities and means the festival can be accessible to those from all economic backgrounds which is one of its governing principles.

However, this also means that in unprecedented situations like this, the Festival is extremely fragile. The Festival’s final week  programme included 98 artists and VAULT are working hard to mitigate whatever they can for the artists who have been affected by this cancellation, and also by the reduction in attendance and sales over the past days.

Mat Burtcher and Andy George also said: “We don’t yet know the full extent of the damage we find ourselves in and what effect it will have on our ability to keep going. But, we will scrap in every way we can so we can continue to give a platform to the unheard voices, the unseen artists, and the damn right beautiful humans who fill our tunnels with their creativity, brilliance and vibrance every day. We are so immensely proud of everything our artists and our staff have made.”

“This year has been, without overstatement, exceptional. Their hard work, dedication and love for what they’ve built shines through and there are not words for our gratitude. We have a lot of work to do. Our intention is to mitigate as much of the damage to all our participants as possible, and to do it kindly, with all our values in place. They’ve never been more important. Finally, thank you. A thousand times. We’re so sorry we couldn’t get to the finish line, but it doesn’t take a fraction away from what we’ve made, together.”

All ticket holders are entitled to a refund for the performances that that have been cancelled but VAULT Festival is encouraging audiences to consider converting their ticket to a donation. This donation will be split with the artists to help mitigate the financial impact of cancellation.

VAULT Festival 2020 ran from 28th January to 16th March 2020. For full list of programmes, visit their website here


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