Due to be held from January to March 2021, the festival will not return in its full, live version around the Vaults Theatre until 2022 because of the impact of Covid-19.
As each festival takes 10 months to create, the organisers said they believed this decision was “in the best interests of its artists, staff and collaborators”.
In a statement, they said: “The team do not want to ask the artists to begin expending time, money, and energy in creating new shows when the risks remain so unpredictable in an already precarious industry.
“As a non-funded independent organisation, 100% of Vault Festival’s income comes from ticket sales, food and drink, and fundraising. As such, the festival doesn’t have the margins to be able to ride out a less-than-great festival, to implement social distancing effectively and to protect their artists from exposure to increased financial and safety risks.”
However, founders and directors Mat Burtcher and Andy George said they intended to use this time to “restructure and reorganise the festival to better serve everyone involved”. They want to re-engage with the festival’s purpose and interrogate its place in the industry.
They will be “working dynamically to generate live and digital opportunities for their artists, staff and audiences throughout 2021”. They will also be making big plans for the 10th anniversary of Vault Festival in 2022.
In their joint statement, the pair said: “The prospect of not doing a festival in 2021 is daunting but our mission is now more important than ever. Our commitment is to continue working to provide an accessible platform that best serves our artists, audiences and staff throughout 2021.
“We want to make our community, industry and world more accessible, more inclusive and more sustainable.
“We’re grateful to the wonderful artists, audiences, our team, and the collaborators who’ve made the Festival what it is so far – thank you for your continuing support. We’ll be back, better, soon.”
The final week of this year’s Vault Festival had to be cancelled because of the theatre shutdown provoked by Prime Minister Boris Johnson advising people to avoid theatres.