Coronavirus events: What’s on – What’s off

PUBLISHED: 18:17 27 March 2020 | UPDATED: 16:11 30 March 2020

Latitude Gates. It is hoped that this year's event will go ahead  Picture: MEGAN ALDOUS

Latitude Gates. It is hoped that this year's event will go ahead Picture: MEGAN ALDOUS


The swift arrival of the Coronavirus and the subsequent lockdown has thrown the county’s festivals, theatres and arts events into total disarray. Here’s a run-down of what’s on and what’s off.

The grand parade at the Suffolk Show  Picture: SUFFOLK AGRICULTURAL ASSOCIATIONThe grand parade at the Suffolk Show Picture: SUFFOLK AGRICULTURAL ASSOCIATION

Less than a month ago we were looking ahead to a rich spring and summer packed with culture and family events. The arrival of Coronavirus has meant that for the first time ever an entire season of festivals and live performances have either had to be cancelled or rescheduled.

This is how events in Suffolk are currently looking. This list will be updated as announcements are made so be sure to check back at regular intervals.

The East Anglian Game & Country Fair

Where: Euston Estate, Euston Hall, Thetford

Due to be held: April 25-26

The East Anglian Game & Country Fair is an annual two day, family event which celebrates the heritage and traditions of rural life. This year’s event has been cancelled and organisers are planning to return in April 2021.

Kursk played the University of Suffolk stage at Ipswich Music Day 2019. This year's event has been cancelled  Picture: Neil DidsburyKursk played the University of Suffolk stage at Ipswich Music Day 2019. This year's event has been cancelled Picture: Neil Didsbury

Bury St Edmunds Festival

Where: The Apex, the Cathedral and various venues across Bury St Edmunds

Due to be held: May 14-24

This was due to be the 35th Bury St Edmunds Festival. Spread over 11 days, in 12 different venues and with 50 different events across the West Suffolk town, it was going to feature Tony Christie, Dead Bones, Deadringers Live and Jenni Murray. The event has been cancelled this year.

Beccles Food and Drink Festival

Where: Beccles Town Centre

Due to be held: Saturday May 23

Obelisk Arena Latitude. It is hoped that this year's event will go ahead    Picture: MEGAN ALDOUSObelisk Arena Latitude. It is hoped that this year's event will go ahead Picture: MEGAN ALDOUS

The free Festival was to have featured more than 80 food and drink stalls, many of them local artisan producers. This has been cancelled.

LeeStock Music Festival 2020

Where: Melford Hall, (National Trust) Long Melford, Sudbury

Due to be held: May 23-24

LeeStock was to have celebrated its 13th anniversary with another top line up. This year’s headline acts would have included: Ash, Scouting For Girls, Toploader, Lucy Spraggan, Space, Electric Six and Stereo Mc’s. This event has been cancelled but will return in 2021 with many acts promising to reserve slots in their diary.

Suffolk Show

Where: Trinity Park, Felixstowe Road, Ipswich

Due to be held: May 27-28

The Suffolk Show is an event that celebrates both modern life and the county’s rich heritage. Traditional livestock share space in the show ring with various attractions like show-jumping, motorcycle displays, parachute jumps, best in show parades even on one occasion dancing diggers.

Sadly, this year’s event has been cancelled but will return next year.

First Light Festival

Where: Lowestoft South Beach

Due to be held: Saturday June 20

Following the success of it’s inaugural event, First Light Festival was to return on the 2020 summer solstice weekend. Like many other events this year’s festival has been cancelled.

Maverick Festival

Where: Easton Farm Park, Easton, Woodbridge

Due to be held: July 3-5

Maverick is the UK’s first and finest Americana music festival and an event that continues to build on its reputation for securing the best and brightest in American roots music from both sides of the Atlantic.

This year’s line-up should include: Steve Forbert, California Feetwarmers, Legendary Shack Shakers, Terra Lightfoot, Henhouse Prowlers, Weeping Willows and Hank Wangford. A decision has yet to be taken on whether this year’s event will go ahead.


Where: Henham Park, near Blythburgh, NR34 8AQ

Due to be held: July 16-19

Latitude is a major part of the UK’s festival season and an important corner-piece of Suffolk’s cultural jigsaw. What makes Latitude special is, in addition to the eclectic selection headline music acts, the festival held at Henham Park, just outside Southwold, is also home to a fascinating lineup of theatre, cabaret and comedy, while an inspiring variety of spoken word, poetry and film features regularly throughout the weekend. You’ll experience everything from the spectacular to the surreal at Latitude’s diverse array of stages, with the main stage (Obelisk Arena) sitting at the top of the hill overlooking the festival.

Among the headliners at this year’s festival are: Liam Gallagher, The Chemical Brothers, HAIM plus Bill Bailey and Simon Amstell. This year’s festival is still going ahead at time of writing.

Suffolk Dog Day 2020

Where: Helmingham Hall, Stowmarket

Due to be held: July 26

This is no ordinary day in the doggy diary, but a day to celebrate our furry friends in all their guises. Enjoy a great day out with your dogs, family and friends.

There are fun dog classes with great prizes, agility, dog scurry and lots of attractions and trade stands to keep everyone entertained. There are children’s activities as well as more than 50 stalls selling everything from dog accessories to cheese. There will also be a catering village as well as entertainments and demonstrations. This event is still going ahead at time of publication

Festival of Wheels

Where: Trinity Park, Felixstowe Road, Ipswich

Due to be held: July 31 - August 2

An intoxicating mix of cars, bikes, trucks and all things motoring come together over two superb days for the Festival of Wheels.

The largest event of its kind in the South-East, the festival gathers together the east coast’s rarest and most glamorous cars, bikes and trucks. The Festival of Wheels is a unique event created for those with a passion for motoring in general. The festival format enables visitors to enjoy a full day or weekend of motoring entertainment.

At time of publication this event was still going ahead.


Where: Glemham Hall, Little Glemham, Woodbridge

Due to be held: Aug 21-23

FolkEast is a festival where a group of like minded people from across the generations, who gather together for a three day annual festival of music, arts, crafts, legends, traditions and frivolities on the Glemham Hall estate in Suffolk.

This year’s line-up includes: Afro Celt Sound System, Drever McCusker & Woomble, Elephant Sessions, Catrin Finch & Seckou Keita, The Shee, The Trials of Cato, Gigspanner Big Band, The Moulettes and festival patrons The Young’Uns. This event is still likely to go ahead.

Retro Dub Suffolk VW Festival

Where: Trinity Park, Felixstowe Road, Ipswich

Due to be held: Fri Sept 25 - Sun Sept 27

Retro Dub Suffolk VW Festival is an old school camping and live music weekend for all ages. Now in its sixth year, the event proves to be a chilled-out show, offering a genuine VW camping festival experience - like it used to be back in the day.

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The show is hosted at Trinity Park, Ipswich, situated within a beautiful 300 acre secure complex, has rural landscapes, and even has 4G for most networks. There will be a variety of traders and catering options, as well as a full programme of live music and children’s entertainment. It is hoped that this event will still go ahead.

Aldeburgh Food and Drink Festival

Where: Snape Maltings Concert Hall, Snape

Due to be held: September 26-27

This event showcases products like raw milk, organic vegetables, sourdough bread, beer and spirits and much more. This year, the Festival promises to deliver a jam-packed weekend of fabulous food adventures, from tastings and demonstrations to ‘roll up your sleeves and get stuck in’ masterclasses. Although a final decision is yet to be made, it is hopeful that this event will go ahead.

Historic Lavenham Calling Festival

Where: ‘Big Top’ in Lavenham

Due to be held: July 2-5.

Big name acts like Russell Watson and Jethro are heading the bill which he says he hopes will become an annual event, shifting the entertainment focus away from the big venues to more community-based events in places like Lavenham. It is still hoped that this event will go ahead.


Where: The Cut Halesworth

Due to be held: April 17-19

The theatre and new writing festival for East Anglian theatre-makers has been postponed until next year. All this year’s plays will be carried over to 2021’s festival and the plan is to make it a much bigger event.

Aldeburgh Festival

Where: Snape Maltings, St Edmundsbury Cathedral

Due to be held: June 12-28

The 73rd Aldeburgh Festival is expected to feature four artists-in-residence who have each curated parts of the festival – composers Mark-Anthony Turnage and Cassandra Miller, and singers Julia Bullock and Allan Clayton.

Other highlights include the opening night in Bury St Edmunds Abbey celebrating the 1,000th anniversary of one of medieval England’s great monasteries, the first performance of Britten’s War Requiem at Snape Maltings as part of Aldeburgh Festival and the world premiere of Violet, a new opera by composer Tom Coult and playwright Alice Birch. This year’s festival has now been cancelled. Much of the programme, including the premieres, will be moved to 2021.

Southwold Arts Festival

Where: Various venues across Southwold

Due to be held: June 20-28

The seventh Southwold Arts Festival – a nine-day celebration of the arts – music, drama, poetry, visual art, photography, dance, talks and literature. It’s designed to appeal to all ages and tastes; to local residents and to visitors to the vibrant seaside town. The line-up features national performers as well as local celebrities; professional, well-established names as well as those starting out on their careers. This year’s festival has been cancelled. Next year’s event has been announced for June 26-July 3 2021.

New Wolsey Theatre

Where: Civic Drive, Ipswich

Due to be held: Spring Season

The entirety of the New Wolsey’s spring season and summer programme is now cancelled. It is hoped that the theatre will be re-opening on September 17 with a production of the musical Single. Other productions will include The Country Wife, Noughts and Crosses and Wuthering Heights and the rock’n’roll panto Jack and the Beanstalk which opens on November 26.

Eastern Angles

Where: Touring venues across Suffolk

Due to be held: Spring and early summer

Eastern Angles spring tour was to have been Red Skies, penned by the companies co-founder and artistic director Ivan Cutting. It was to have explored what may have happened in late August 1939 when author Arthur Ransome and his wife Evgenia (Trotsky’s former secretary) sailed up the Suffolk coast from Pin Mill to put their boat in dry dock in Lowestoft. What happened when they put in to Southwold harbour and bumped into Eric Blair (aka George Orwell). The whole tour has now been cancelled and will be remounted at a later date.

Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds

Where: Westgate Street, Bury St Edmunds

Due to be held: spring season until July 8

The whole spring season has been cancelled in its entirety. A decision about re-opening will be taken during the summer. The panto Cinderella will open as planned on November 27.

Ipswich Regent and Corn Exchange

Where: St Helen’s Street, Ipswich

Due to be held: Spring and summer seasons

At the moment all shows are cancelled but decisions will be taken on a show by show basis throughout the first half of the year, following government and scientific advice. The theatre has created a web-page so audiences can keep track of what shows have been cancelled and which ones have been rescheduled. You can access the page here


Where: Across various venues in Aldeburgh

Due to be held: September

This year’s event has been cancelled. It will be replaced by a revamped festival staged across the East of England in March/April next year.

Red Rooster Festival

Where: Euston Hall, near Thetford

Due to be held: May 28-30

This year’s festival of country, blues and roots music has been rescheduled to September 4-6. Main headliners Richard Hawley and Asleep at the Wheel have confirmed the new dates and organisers are currently working to book the other acts.

Ipswich Jazz Festival

Where: St Peter’s Church and various venues across Ipswich

Due to be held: June 26-28

This year’s festival, normally centred around St Peter’s Church and the Ipswich Waterfront has been cancelled. The new date will be to 25th – 27th June 2021 and will be featuring the same exciting lineup of artists including Derek Nash’s Picante and The Jive Aces.

Maui Waui Festival

Where: Theberton

Due to be held: August 28-30

Now in it’s eighth year, this wonderful family festival, based in the heart of the Theberton Woods is expected to go ahead, although nothing is yet confirmed but it is hoped that there will be an Americana Day added to this year’s festival to celebrate the scope of roots and Americana music.

Ipswich Music Day

Where: Christchurch Park

Due to be held: July 5

This annual music party celebrating the scope of local talent has been cancelled this year. It is undecided whether it will be rescheduled for later in the summer or will skip a year.

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