New date for Lancaster's Highest Point festival as organisers say they'll 'take a punt' on September

Organisers of Lancaster's Highest Point festival - which was due to take place in May - have set a new date for the event.
Highest Point festival has been rescheduled for September.Highest Point festival has been rescheduled for September.
Highest Point festival has been rescheduled for September.

The music festival within the grounds of the city's Williamson Park was scheduled to take place between May 15 and 16, but due to the current coronavirus restrictions, had to be postponed.

The new date for the festival is September 11 and 12, and headliners Rag N Bone Man and Rudimental are still set to perform.

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The festival is also planning a free party on Thursday September 10 for NHS staff and key workers.

Holly Wignall, Richard Dyer and Jamie Scahill, organisers of Highest Point.Holly Wignall, Richard Dyer and Jamie Scahill, organisers of Highest Point.
Holly Wignall, Richard Dyer and Jamie Scahill, organisers of Highest Point.

But Richard Dyer, from Highest Point, said he was "taking a punt" with the new date.

He said: "We very quickly realised that it wasn't going to happen in May, so we're taking a punt with September.

"We've got to start planning at some point, and of course there'll be a time when we're allowed to get together again.

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"We know it might not happen, but we can move the artists forward with us if we need to plan again.

Highest Point Festival in Lancaster.Highest Point Festival in Lancaster.
Highest Point Festival in Lancaster.

"If we get to September and they say we can't allow that to happen, we can postpone again until next May.

"It's an event that is important to us all, it's 50/50 at the moment, but when the country starts moving again, and it will, we need to be ready."

Richard, who lives in Garstang, is also the co-founder of Lancashire based online ticket outlet and events guide website Skiddle.

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He said the company has had to refund millions of tickets to customers, and has furloughed staff.

Highest Point Festival.Highest Point Festival.
Highest Point Festival.

"The work has gone up and the revenue is going the other way," he said.

"There are so many different people involved at so many different levels.

"If an event doesn't take place then you're allowed a refund.

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"If the venue changes you're also allowed a refund, because it's not the product that was being offered.

"In Belgium and Germany, they're offering a voucher instead of a refund, but there's nothing like that set up here.

"We've furloughed about a third of our staff, but the government rates relief and the grant doesn't apply to us because we're not officially 'retailers'.

"On the positive side, we're using this time to plan.

"We have a full development team that is completely free from distractions.

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We've had a couple of staff that have had coronavirus, one of whom was tested, and come through it, so that's good.

"We took the situation seriously that this was going to happen earlier than others, we rebuilt our phone system so that everyone can do the same thing but at home, and we've done a lot of work with promoters and communication with customers.

"When all this is over people are going to be desperate to get out.

"Everyone is aware of the financial impact, and at the moment the magic money tree does seem to exist, but at some point we're all going to have to pay for this."

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Highest Point said on its Facebook page: "We are pleased to confirm that both headline artists move with us on the respective days, with some minor changes further down the lineup which will be announced in due course.

"All tickets remain valid for the weekend in September, however if you can't make it then please visit your order history on Skiddle to receive your refund.

"All of the Highest Point team would like to say a massive thank you to all the NHS and key workers currently committing everything they can to keep us safe and we will be making our thanks known with a huge free party for you all on Thursday September 10, with more details to follow in due course.

"Thank you once again for your patience and understanding and we will see you in the gorgeous Williamson Park in September."

Richard added that he wanted to say thanks to the couple that agreed to move their wedding in September to hopefully allow the festival to go ahead.