The organizers of Britain’s Glastonbury music festival have canceled the celebrated event, adding to the growing list of large entertainment and sporting events that have been forced to cancel or postpone because of the coronavirus.
“Clearly this was not a course of action we hoped to take for our 50th anniversary event, but following the new government measures announced last week – and in times of such unprecedented uncertainty – this is now our only option,” organizers Michael and Emily Eavis said early Wednesday on Twitter.
The decision comes after British Prime Minister Boris Johnson called on the public to isolate themselves and to steer clear of large crowds.
The event has evolved into one of Europe’s most popular music festivals. Some 1,500 people attended the first annual festival in 1970, and since then it has drawn more than 200,000 people annually.
Top entertainers, including Kendrick Lamar, Paul McCartney and Taylor Swift, were set to headline the event, which was scheduled from June 24-28.
Organizers of the Glastonbury festival said 135,000 people who already paid deposits on tickets will be able to get a refund or roll the deposit over for tickets for the 2021 event.
The coronavirus also has forced the cancellation or postponement of other large events.
The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, which has been attended by more than 250,000 people annually, postponed its event in Indio, California, by six months until October.
A popular film, music and tech festival in Austin, Texas, South by Southwest, was canceled one week before it was to begin after losing high-profile attendees such as Netflix and Twitter.
The English Premier League has suspended its season until at least early April. Italy has postponed all sporting events until at least April 3, while France’s Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 have postponed all matches.