Wet weather, following the wettest April and June since records began, is wreaking havoc on the summer events calendar, with the last two days of the Great Yorkshire Show the latest casualty. Organisers expected more than 130,000 attendees to attend the event at Harrogate Showgrounds. Now in its 154th year, it has previously only been cancelled during World War II and the 2001 foot-and-mouth outbreak.
Bill Cowling, the show’s director said: “It is heartbreaking for all concerned – our exhibitors, our visitors and, of course, our staff. The decision has been made because our car parks have become too muddy to use with any safety, and the safety of our visitors has to come first. We are also conscious of our neighbours and did not want to risk people parking inconsiderately in Harrogate. We will be refunding all those who have bought tickets in advance and talking to our exhibitors.”
Another high-profile cancellation was The Hit Factory concert on 12 July, showcasing the pop music epitomised by record producers Stock, Aitken and Waterman. The show would have seen the first performance together in 20 years by Neighbours’ stars Kylie Minogue and Jason Donovan. A spokesperson for the concert commented: “The potential risk to staff and music fans was too great for the event to go ahead." The Hyde Park, London, site was deemed unfit for use, its condition not helped by the 7 July Wireless concert also held there.
Others shows washed out include the Festival of British Eventing, an equestrian show, at Gatcombe Park, Gloucestershire, due to begin on 13 July. Its demise comes after the April wet-weather cancellation of the Badminton Horse Trials.
Olympic organisers, however, say 2012’s greatest show will not be stopped by the rain. A LOCOG spokeswoman said Olympic ticket holders would be offered replacement tickets for rescheduled events rather than given their money back. Ticketing advice for washed-out events would be given out ‘very quickly’, but conditions would have to be ‘really bad’ for any postponements.
The Guardian newspaper quoted sports minister Hugh Robertson: “Regardless of the weather, we will have a great party. The fun of the party will overcome the inconvenience of the rain."