Just in: Glyndebourne averts closure

Just in: Glyndebourne averts closure


norman lebrecht

March 18, 2020

The summer festival has postponed its start until mid-July, a new statement says:

…. In light of the Government’s strong advice to avoid public gatherings in spaces such as theatres, we have taken the difficult decision to delay the start of the Glyndebourne Festival until Tuesday 14 July 2020. All scheduled performances until that date have been cancelled, and we will be producing a revised schedule to be shared shortly. Please check Glyndebourne.com or follow our social media channels for updates.

This has not been an easy decision to make, and we understand that these cancellations will come as hugely disappointing news to our audience and Company members. This will result in the loss of vital livelihood for many artists and seasonal staff. We are offering ticket holders the opportunity to donate the value of their tickets, in full or in part, to help support Glyndebourne and these crucial members of our family. As a financially independent charity that receives no public subsidy for the Festival, we rely on the income it generates and the generosity of individuals and companies to make our work possible.

We understand that it may not be possible to make this donation so are also offering a full refund.



  • unknown says:

    Yes,they avert closure but they put the cast and all the musicians who were desperately counting on being paid during those 4 summer months in a terrible position. Also because they announced it on social media instead of private correspondence.

    • V.Lind says:

      Artists counting on being paid are all over the place, not just Glyndebourne. Kids who work in shops, now closed, were counting on getting paid. Older people who work in day care were counting on getting paid.

      The government has said there will be provision made for people who lose their income. Presumably that includes artists and arts staff.

      Stop trying to act as if they deserve more consideration than the rest of the planet. Doctors and nurses are run off their feet on the front lines. Try to see a bigger picture than your little corner of the earth.

      • Robert King says:

        No-one will disagree with V Lind that anyone and everyone who is self-employed is going to be in a terrible mess (and that the medics are going to have a truly dreadful time when Covid-19 in the UK really hots up). The UK government support hasn’t yet focussed on the problems that will be faced by those who work in the “per service” economy: whether that’s a bartender paid by the hour, a violinist paid by the day, a conference organiser booked by the project, a first aid course trainer paid by the service, a gigging roadie, an actor, a jazzer, a lighting technician (eight family and friends who first came to mind, all of whom earn their livings, none of them good livings, in these varied categories), or any of the other hundreds of thousands of people who are totally self-employed and booked by the service, but aren’t a company, aren’t on any contract and have no financial security net.

        In the case of UK Arts, the vast, vast majority of people are exactly those freelancers, and the vast majority are paid surprisingly little per service. So they don’t have savings, and almost every one of them is going to be hit mighty hard, starting immediately. One of my colleagues last week said that her work (a day here, two days there, a morning here) was being cancelled faster than she could reply to the emails (and she’s one of the best in her sector of the music business. I know what she earns in a good year, playing here, there and anywhere – it’s low). To make it more worrying, a good few of the organisations for whom such people work may not survive this crisis, so when it is all hopefully over, if the organisation or venue that books them has folded, there won’t be the bounceback in this sector that Mr Johnson was the other day talking about.

        So whilst no-one should suggest that rank-and-file, self-employed musicians (whether they play in the pit at Glyndebourne or on a bar stool in the local pub) should be given *special* consideration, they certainly should be given the *same* consideration as any person employed by any company. So far, that help isn’t showing from the UK government

        And a final thought: with some noble exceptions, venues and organisations seem to be asking audiences to forego their returned ticket money to keep the venue open or organisation functioning (presumably to pay their salaried staff), but don’t mention paying their freelance performers their lost fees. So maybe audience members could perhaps first quiz the venue’s manager as to who will actually get the money?

        • Anon says:

          Thank you Robert King, for exactly stating the UK position regarding Coronavirus and freelance artists. The usual ” what is your real job” springs to mind, when I read some of the posts here on SD.
          ( If a company/organisation receives money from the Arts Council, it is in the contract that they have to pay freelancers in case that particular project is cancelled. No force majeur there!)

        • V.Lind says:

          Amen to that last observation. I know the last orchestra I worked for would just take the money and put it in general revenue, presumably ensuring staff (i.e. administrators’) salaries, and other routine bills. As that orchestra does receive government support — though like all such, not the biggest part of their revenue — I would not donate anything to them.

          I hope in the short run — if it IS short — artists and others in gig or freelance or zero-hours work — can be compensated just as salaried and waged employees are. In the long run, I hope there will also be initiatives from Rishi Sunak and his puppet-masters to re-establish businesses that took a hit during this crisis. That includes theatres and concert halls and galleries and the like, and also restaurants and pubs, hotels and shops, and small businesses in every sector.

          The government bailed out the banks when they, through their own stupidity and cupidity, lost billions in 2008. So the can find a way to bail out ordinary people now.

  • Leporello says:

    It aint goin’ to happen. Stand by for eventual cancellation.

    • Saxon Broken says:

      It is too early to tell. China managed to clear the virus in three months. It is possible Britain will reopen in early June. We will just have to wait and see.