Next year’s Fife Festival of Music has been called off amid coronavirus safety fears.
Organisers said they had decided “with great regret and sadness” to cancel the 2021 event due to ongoing uncertainty surrounding the covid pandemic.
The two-week festival attracts hundreds of musicians from across Fife, including school children and adults, and has been running for 40 years.
Chairman Graeme Wilson said it would be inappropriate to pursue arrangements for the 41st event in February.
He said the decision would affect music-making, participation and fulfilment of the festival’s purpose.
“Everyone’s safety is of paramount importance,” he said.
“Planning for the main January/February festival starts in the spring of the previous year and by mid-August, all initial arrangements are in place.
“With so much uncertainty over so many aspects of life, with doubts over the long-term impact of social distancing, the behaviour of the virus itself, with question marks over the availability of venues and, in particular, the great pressures on schools and their work, the committee considered it inappropriate and impractical to pursue arrangements for February 2021.”
All Fife schools, many previous adult group entrants, venues, stewards and sponsors have been informed of the decision.
Mr Wilson added: “The festival committee wishes to offer its thanks to all who participate and contribute to events and expresses its hope that there is full understanding of and sympathy with its decision.
“Be assured that the festival will be back in 2022 and will be seeking support in whatever form possible.”
The festival is mainly held in the Adam Smith Theatre, Kirkcaldy, with additional sessions organised at Carnegie Hall in Dunfermline and Cupar Corn Exchange.
It has encouraged generations of Fifers to get involved in music, with participants taking part in competitive and non-competitive classes in a range of disciplines, from solo instrumentalists to choirs and orchestras.
It originally ran in the 1920s and 30s but ceased before the Second World War.
It was revived by a group of local musicians in 1981 and has operated every year since.