Festival organisers, acts and ticket-buyers are holding their breath but the signs are looking better for the great outdoors and 2021 could be the year to celebrate getting back to normal outside as well as inside!

It was unreal that the 50th Anniversary of Glastonbury complete with legend Diana Ross had to be called off. Hopefully this year’s event will more than make up for it. In a sense it has to as founder Michael Eavis said, “We have to run next year, otherwise we would seriously go bankrupt… It has to happen for us, we have to carry on Otherwise it will be curtains. I don’t think we could wait another year.”

The dates set are June 23 to 27 but who will be the stars? No idea, next question? Actually there is an inkling that Paul McCartney might be persuaded to be there. As well as Diana Ross as she was due to appear in the 2020 special and it could just be…….

Moving on, the Wychwood Festival is open for business at Cheltenham Racecourse on June 4 to 6 and tickets have been flying for this very popular family festival which has everything from major music stars to a literature festival all going on at the same time. Who’s there? Lightning Seeds. The Christians and loads of other well-known bands plus Craig Charles and a very special appearance by the one and only Basil Brush! Fancy taking a fox to a racecourse! It’s going to be great.

The Isle of Wight Festival promises to be back on form after last year’s disappointment. It takes place on June 17 to 20 at the Newport Showground. Lionel Ritchie is among the headliners who also include Lewis Capaldi, Snow Patrol, Pete Tong, Duran Duran, Jess Glynne, Sam Fender and Carly Rae Jepsen.

What about Hampton Court Palace Festival which is also set for June? Tom Jones will be there and so will Bastille Reorchestrated, Rick Astley, George Benson, Björn Again and, er…Lionel Ritchie. Sounds like Lionel Ritchie will be everywhere in 2021 and why not, great performer. Wonder if Lionel, Tom and the amazing George Benson might appear on stage together – could be the start of another Three Tenors!

Outdoor entertainment is not just about concerts and festivals of course and county show organisers are among the many who find themselves in an optimistic no-mans-land.

The first of the big county shows is Nottinghamshire County Show at Newark. It was of course cancelled in 2020 so the organisers are hoping to make up for it with a bumper 2021 show on the weekend of May 8 and 9.

Many acts and traders rely heavily on these county shows. A decade or so ago virtually every town, village and city in the land held its own show and the diaries of everything from motorcycle display teams to punch and judy shows were full, as were those of the home-made cake stall holders and the burger bars.

Those shows are not so plentiful now, partly because of a lack of volunteer organisers but also because they found it harder to balance the books as costs rose out of sync with the income generated.

So, the shows that remain become more and more important to all those trying to get a living from such events. Let us hope that the great outdoors is even greater in 2021.

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