2020 is turning out to be memorable for all the wrong reasons. We were so looking forward to our special year when we could celebrate seven years that sealed the Dark Gathering as a tradition, on Halloween with a blue full moon rising upon some superb Morris sides and blessed by the Mari Lwyds and Obby Osses. Then the virus reached our shores and the whole country went into lockdown.
We watched and waited and hoped, but to no avail as it became apparent that we had to cancel the Dark Gathering for this year. What a huge disappointment for so many people. 😦
Now there may be many folk who may be wondering why we have cancelled when it is still over four months until the event. There are five important reasons why we had to take this decision, and in no particular order I shall explain what they are.
I used to think rather naively that small festivals and events just needed getting a few people together and organising them loosely and away you go – if only it were that straight forward! Possibly you might get away with gatherings of up to about 50 people, but once the numbers start climbing into the hundreds then you have to apply for an appropriate entertainment licence from the Council. This complex document has to be applied for well in advance up to 12 weeks before the planned event. There are other licences we have to obtain but this is the main one – without it the event cannot by law go ahead.
Not too surprisingly given the present national situation the premiums on all the insurances that are required have soared astronomically, and I won’t even start on describing how much of a minefield it would be creating risk assessments for Health & Safety – I’ll leave that to your imagination!
At the time of writing the government guidelines state that no more than 6 people can meet up together, and although there may be an increase to that number in the next few months I really think it unlikely that this would reach the hundreds – but even if that happened then they would have to be socially distanced and there is simply not the space for that to happen in the small village of Boscastle.
Due to the virus adversely impacting workers and businesses alike, many folk are seriously struggling to keep on an even financial keel. As a direct result of this, any funding from sponsors for the Gathering is way down the list of their priorities and cannot be anticipated for the foreseeable future. This would considerably restrict future payments and subsidies that have up until now been given to various performers.
Due to the government guidelines the owners of the areas where we have traditionally performed are unable to grant permission for their use as a performance area. Once again, this is a situation that I can’t see changing any time soon.
So there you have it. No Dark Gathering this year sadly. However, we will still be travelling up to visit Boscastle on the day to spend time enjoying the uniquely powerful energy of the place on such a special night. We believe that several folk have decided to do the same if some accommodation is available and people are allowed to stay overnight by then.
We will now be focusing on the Dark Gathering 2021 when we intend to have the same line-up of performers as were arranged for this year. Given that, as elsewhere, many hospitality businesses are seriously struggling in Boscastle, if you are planning to attend the 2021 Gathering you may wish to consider simply transferring your booking from this year to the next if possible.
We will miss you all this year but I’m sure we’ll all meet up again soon. Keep watching for any more updates and most of all stay safe! 🙂