Vault Festival 2022: Major London fringe festival announces cancellation over surging Covid cases

·2-min read
  (Vault Festival)
(Vault Festival)

A major arts festival in Waterloo has been cancelled over Omicron, its organisers announced on Tuesday.

The Vault festival, featuring stand-up, theatre and cabaret, was due to take place between January 25 and March 20 in venues across Waterloo.

But its organisers said on Tuesday that the festival could not go ahead because of the “stress, uncertainty, and insurmountable financial vulnerability,” to staff and artists.

It had been due to be the fringe festival’s 10th year.

“We have to make brave and proactive decisions to prioritise and protect the mental health, wellbeing, and safety of our staff, artists, and audiences,” said the festival organisers, who added they were “broken-hearted” at the decision.

“We work with a lot of vulnerable people, for whom participating in the festival is no longer viable in light of the ongoing developments.

“The challenges posed by Covid-19 have been at the forefront of our planning throughout our preparations and we’ve undertaken extensive scenario planning in order to be able to deliver a safe, welcoming, and celebratory event that could overcome them.”

Last year’s festival had also been forced to cancel over Covid, as the UK was in lockdown in January last year.

Those with tickets are being refunded, while the organisers now say they are working to “minimise the financial impact” on artists and staff.

The arts have been heavily hit by high case rates in London, with many major productions in the West End having to cancel shows in the run-up to Christmas over isolating staff members.

Among the shows experiencing cancellations were productions of the Nutcracker at both the Royal Albert Hall and the Royal Opera House.

Several major productions including the Lion King, Matilda and Come From Away were also hit by cancellations last month over Covid rates.

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