ORGANISERS of Now Northwich are planning ahead for 2021 after being left with no option but to cancel this year's event due to coronavirus.

The annual international dance and street arts festival, which attracted an audience of more than 27,000, would have taken place on Saturday, October 3.

Covid-19 restrictions mean the third annual Now Northwich cannot go ahead this weekend, but work is already underway to plan for the festival's return next year.

Adam Holloway, director of Cheshire Dance, is producer of the Now Northwich festival.

He said: "While we are hugely disappointed that Now Northwich 2020 cannot take place, the safety of those in the community is our priority.

Northwich Guardian:

Thousands flock to the event each year

"We are already working with the council and key partners to ensure Now Northwich will resume next year – bringing magic, awe and delight to residents and visitors, and a vital economic boost to local businesses."

Now Northwich events in the past two years have seen families flock to the town on the first Saturday of October to enjoy a day of performance free of charge.

Last year's festival showcased 42 performances comprising of 291 international, national and community performers, and town centre ward member Cllr Sam Naylor says the event is key to putting Northwich on the cultural map.

He said: "Over the past two years, Now Northwich has played a significant role in helping the town to become a key cultural destination.

"The last event brought visitors in their thousands and local businesses benefitted from a 53 per cent increase in footfall to the town centre and Barons Quay.

Northwich Guardian:

The dinosaur finale in 2018

"It’s a great shame that this year’s event cannot go ahead as planned, but the Covid-19 situation is unprecedented and we must all do what we can to keep each other safe.”

The last two events have seen jaw-dropping finales – the wild dinosaurs in 2018 and the giant insects in 2019 – and work is now shaping up to make the 2021 event just as thrilling.

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Jane McLean creative director at Cheshire Dance, added: “We are excited about next year’s event already and we are using this time to curate a programme for 2021 that continues to inspire and excite both the young and old and bring people of all backgrounds together as one community.

"It is certainly disappointing that Now Northwich cannot go ahead on October 3 but we will be back next year when you can once again expect the unexpected.”