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Episode from the podcastThe Untold

We Lost Dancing

Released Monday, 4th October 2021
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Alex Trenchard is the founder of Standon Calling, a 17,000-capacity festival that takes place every year in Hertfordshire. The festival brings together thousands of music fans and hundreds of talented workers who together are part of putting on something spectacular. But when festivals disappeared at the start of the pandemic - many of us didn’t realise just how much they meant to us.

Over 85,000 people in the UK are employed by the festival industry, and for many the first few months of 2021 left them in limbo, not knowing whether they were going to have a job come summer. After Alex was forced to cancel the festival in 2020, the festival was left almost bankrupt. Alex faced losing his business and his livelihood. But as the vaccine programme progressed and case numbers for COVID-19 started to fall, it brought hope that the festival might be able to return for 2021. And so Alex started planning.

Our producer Robbie Wojciechowski has been following Alex and some of the voices that make the festival industry happen over the last few months as they fight to go ahead. For bands and artists, festivals this summer will be their first live performances in 18 months. And for Alex, if he manages to run, he'll be one of the first independent festivals to do so. But it’s a mammoth task, as variants of the virus spread, and case numbers continue to rise.

We find out what it took to get the festival industry and live music back on track.

Produced by Robbie Wojciechowski
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