Radio 1’s Big Weekend called off as coronavirus hits music events

Biffy Clyro, Harry Styles and Camila Cabello were scheduled perform to thousands of music fans in Dundee.

Radio 1's Big Weekend crowds
Radio 1's Big Weekend crowds

Radio 1’s Big Weekend has been called off by organisers as the music industry continues to feel the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The music festival, which had Biffy Clyro, Harry Styles and Camila Cabello on the line-up, was due to take place in Dundee from Friday May 22 to Sunday May 24.

More than 70,000 music fans were expected to attend over the course of the event in Camperdown Park.

A statement released by BBC Radio 1 said: “After careful consideration we have come to the decision that Radio 1’s Big Weekend 2020 in Dundee will not go ahead.

“This decision has been made in conjunction with our event partners, in line with the advice from the Scottish Government, and while we know fans looking forward to purchasing tickets will be disappointed, it is important that we prioritise the health and safety of all those involved.”

While Big Weekend will not be taking place this year, it is understood that organisers are speaking to Dundee council for a future event.

The scrapping of the annual Radio 1 festival comes as the entertainment industry continues to deal with the fallout caused by the spread of coronavirus.

UK Music’s acting chief executive Tom Kiehl called on the Government to take “urgent steps to safeguard a music industry which is the envy of the world”, hours after Record Store Day was postponed.

The annual global music event, which involves thousands of people and small businesses, was due to take place on April 18 but has been delayed because of coronavirus concerns.

Record Store Day said in a statement the decision “comes at a time of unprecedented uncertainty and the health and safety of the general public must come first”.

Organisers said: “This was absolutely not an easy decision to make as hundreds of independent shops and labels have been working hard towards this year’s celebrations.

“We’re working with all of our partners and our stores to make this change as smooth as possible for everyone: customers, record stores, artists, labels and more.

“Record Store Day is everywhere and we want to hold our party when everyone can gather around safely to celebrate life, art, music and the culture of the indie record store.”

Elsewhere in music, teenage pop sensation Billie Eilish has been forced to postpone a string of US tour dates as health officials around the world warn against mass gatherings of people.

Eilish, one of music’s hottest stars, said: “I’m so sad to do this but we need to postpone these dates to keep everyone safe.

“We’ll let you know when they can be rescheduled. Please keep yourselves healthy. I love you.”

Other musicians including The Who and Pearl Jam have postponed their tours.

Meanwhile, Glastonbury Festival defied coronavirus fears to announce rapper Kendrick Lamar as its third headliner, joining Sir Paul McCartney and Taylor Swift.

Organisers said they were “working hard” to ensure the event goes ahead in June.

In Hollywood, Disney said it is shutting down production on many of its live-action films, including The Little Mermaid.

The decision to pause filming also affected The Last Duel with Matt Damon, Adam Driver and Ben Affleck; Marvel’s Shang-Chi And The Legend Of The Ten Rings; a Home Alone remake; and Guillermo Del Toro’s Nightmare Alley.

The entertainment giant is also putting on hold a pair of films in pre-production: Peter Pan And Wendy and a Honey, I Shrunk The Kids reboot.

A day earlier Disney delayed the release of a blockbuster remake of Mulan, which had been expected to be one of the entertainment giant’s leading films of 2020 and was supposed to arrive in UK cinemas on March 27.

Disney delayed its release until an unspecified date later in the year, along with horror films The New Mutants and Antlers.

A Quiet Place II and Fast And Furious 9 have also been postponed.

Another of 2020’s biggest films, James Bond movie No Time To Die, has already been pushed back to November, having originally been set to arrive in April.

In better news for film fans, beloved Hollywood star Tom Hanks has reassured fans he and wife Rita Wilson are doing well after they were both diagnosed with Covid-19 while in Australia for an Elvis Presley biopic he is starring in.

Television in the US has also been thrown into disarray by the crisis.

NBCUniversal has reportedly suspended production on about 35 shows, including Chicago Fire, Chicago PD, Chicago Med and Law & Order: SVU.

In another disturbance to everyday life in the US, the late-night talk shows, a television staple in the US, have also halted filming, with The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, Late Night With Seth Meyers and The Late Show With Stephen Colbert all ceasing production.

The shows had already been filming without a studio audience.

All three are planning to return to a normal taping schedule on March 30, their respective networks said.

Production on the second series of neo-noir fantasy Carnival Row, starring Orlando Bloom and Cara Delevingne, has been suspended. Bloom said he was going home to the US, where his fiance Katy Perry is expecting their first child.

Disney has announced it is closing its theme parks in California, Florida and Paris, shuttering Disneyland Park, Disney California Adventure, Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Paris Resort.

The Disney cruise line will suspend new departures from March 14.

Sadiq Khan has announced the cancellation of the Mayor of London’s St Patrick’s Day festival in the capital, which was due to take place on Sunday.

He said key performers and parade participants are “no longer able to participate due to the ongoing threat of coronavirus”.

Looking ahead, major events shrouded in doubt include the Met Gala and Cannes film festival, both in May, the Eurovision Song Contest in Rotterdam, also in May and San Diego Comic-Con in July.

Here is a list of the other major events affected by the outbreak:

– Coachella and Stagecoach music festivals

The festivals, run by the same organiser, were supposed to take place in the California desert in April but have been pushed back to October.

– South By Southwest

The annual film, music and technology festival had been set to take place from March 16 to 22 in Austin, Texas, but was cancelled on March 6.

– Electronic Entertainment Expo

Widely known as E3, the annual event draws the biggest names in video games to Los Angeles each year. It was due to take place in June but it has been cancelled.

– Nickelodeon’s Kids’ Choice Awards

The ceremony was due to take place at the Forum in Inglewood, California, but Nickelodeon has postponed the event in “consideration of the safety and well-being of every person involved with the show, which is our top priority”.

A new date will be announced “in the future”, the network said.

– GLAAD Media Awards

The LGBTQ awards show was set to take place in New York next week but was cancelled on Wednesday, and the organisation said it would provide an update “in coming weeks” on the Los Angeles awards show, set for April..

– CinemaCon

The National Association of Theatre Owners announced the decision to cancel this year’s event, scheduled to take place in Las Vegas from March 30 to April 2, shortly after Donald Trump unveiled the suspension on travel between the US and continental Europe.

– PaleyFest 2020

The major TV festival in Los Angeles was due to host shows including HBO comedy Curb Your Enthusiasm, time-travelling drama Outlander and Star Trek: Picard later this month, but organisers made the decision to postpone it.

– AFI tribute to Dame Julie Andrews

The revered actress, 84, had been set to receive a lifetime achievement award from the American Film Institute on April 25, but the event has been postponed with a new date to be announced.

– London Book Fair

The literary event was due to take place at Olympia London from March 10 to 12 before organisers pulled the plug.

– The RTS Programme Awards

The Royal Television Society (RTS) Programme Awards, due to take place on March 17, will be held behind closed doors.

– Country To Country

The multi-venue event, one of Europe’s largest country music festivals, was postponed less than 24 hours before it was due to begin this weekend across venues in England, Scotland and Ireland.

– Tribeca Film Festival

The 19th edition of the annual New York event was postponed, although organisers did not confirm an alternative date.


The London rock band cancelled their UK tour, which was due to begin in Norwich on Friday night, after a member began “showing symptoms of Covid-19”.

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