The Our Bury St Edmunds Food & Drink Festival, due to take place over the August Bank Holiday weekend, will not go ahead this year because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The free-admission festival, which was started from scratch in 2012 by the Business Improvement District (BID) organisation, has become Suffolk’s biggest such event and one of the highlights of the year in Bury St Edmunds town centre. Approximately 35,000 people attend over the two days and the organisers feel that social distancing would not be possible with crowds of that size.
Chairman of the BID’s board of directors, William Bryant, said: “The hospitality sector has been hit particularly hard in this pandemic – with businesses currently still unable to open and likely to face considerable restrictions when they do. The role of Our Bury St Edmunds is to support them through this challenging time and while the Food & Drink Festival usually celebrates all the town has to offer, our restaurants, cafes and bars will have different priorities this summer. We’ve taken this decision reluctantly after watching and waiting over the past three months in the hope it could have happened in a safe way. However, I very much hope that next year we’ll see the festival return and Bury St Edmunds will continue to be regarded as Suffolk’s foodie town.”
Those who had booked stalls for this year’s event will be contacted by Our Bury St. Edmunds in July regarding refunds.
Chief executive of Our Bury St Edmunds, Mark Cordell, added: “As the event manager for every BID organised event I always state that our number one priority is the health and safety of all who attend our events. We always attract tens of thousands of visitors to the Food & Drink Festival and with the current government guidelines we just couldn’t guarantee that it would be a Covid safe event to attend. It’s a sad decision to take but undoubtedly the right one this year.”