ORGANISERS of a popular annual music festival in the region have cancelled this year's event due to concerns about rising Covid rates.

Durham BRASS was due to take place across County Durham next month, with live performances running from Wednesday, July 14 to Sunday, July 18.

However, due to uncertainty regarding national announcements on Covid restrictions and the publication of safety guidance on large scale events, Durham County Council has decided to postpone the event until 2022.

The festival had been planned with Covid-safety measures in mind, with a largely outdoor programme and social distancing arrangements.

The council has been monitoring sector guidance and local conditions closely and, with the current lack of clarity around safety measures at large-scale events, it is no longer felt that it would be possible to host the festival in a safe and enjoyable way on the planned dates.

Councillor Elizabeth Scott, Durham County Council’s cabinet member for economy and partnerships, said: “Keeping people safe has to be our main priority during these challenging times.

"It is clearly very disappointing that we have had to postpone BRASS but with the ever-changing and unclear situation regarding the virus, national restrictions and additional safety measures at large-scale events, sadly we feel that this is the safest and most sensible decision for all involved.

“It is all the more upsetting that we had worked so hard to ensure the festival would be able to go ahead even if Stage 4 of the roadmap was delayed but, sadly, we no longer feel this is possible.

“We do appreciate that the situation may be very different by the time BRASS was due to take place, but feel it is necessary to make a final decision now so that everyone involved in the festival, from the audience to the bands, has sufficient notice.”

The festival was due to include performances by Richard Hawley and the NASUWT Riverside Band, Field Music, The Trevor Horn Band, CBeebies Band Jam star YolanDa Brown and a host of street bands.

The council will continue to monitor Government guidance and local circumstances as planning continues for its other festivals and events.

Everyone who has a ticket for a BRASS event will be contacted over the course of the next week.