Coronavirus: Royal Welsh and Great Yorkshire shows off

The biggest agricultural event in Europe, the Royal Welsh Show, has been cancelled over the coronavirus crisis.

Organisers the Royal Welsh Agricultural Society (RWAS) announced on Monday (23 March) with “deep regret” that this year’s show has been called off.

The pinnacle event in the British agricultural calendar, the show was due to take place from 20-23 July. More than 240,000 visitors and 8,000 animals descend on the showground for the four-day event at Llanelwedd, Builth Wells.

See also: Farm events rescheduled due to coronavirus

Meanwhile, this year’s Great Yorkshire Show – one of the biggest agricultural events in the English calendar – has also been cancelled due to the pandemic. The event, which usually attracts 130,000 visitors, had been due to take place from 14-16 July in Harrogate.

In a statement, the RWAS said with the UK government advising against attending mass gatherings and further action relating to social distancing, self-isolation and unnecessary travel, the society felt there was no other option.

“The Royal Welsh Agricultural Society prides itself on being a member-led organisation, delivering our iconic show and other events which are an integral part of supporting our rural communities. We understand the effect of this decision, which is made with a heavy heart,” said a spokesperson.

“We have considered postponement or whether we could run a smaller event, but for many reasons, neither of these options are viable. While this news is disappointing for everyone, we are sure you would agree that the health, safety and wellbeing of our members, visitors, exhibitors and staff is of paramount importance.”

The RWAS acknowledged 2020 would be a “difficult year” for the society and the financial implications of the cancellation would be tough.

It has created a cancellation policy for people requiring refunds, but it is also giving the opportunity for supporters to leave funds already committed with the society, or to be rolled over to 2021. For full details visit the RWAS website.

‘Bigger and better’ in 2021

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the Great Yorkshire Show said: “Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, we have taken the sad but sensible decision to cancel the Great Yorkshire Show this year.

“As this national crisis escalates day by day, we feel we cannot safely run the show in 2020. We are extremely sorry to have to announce this news and appreciate that this will disappoint everyone who loves the show as much as we do.

“We will continue to passionately support our farmers in whatever way we can, as they work hard producing our food. We would like to thank everyone for supporting the Great Yorkshire Show and our goal is to return bigger and better next year. We hope you and your families stay safe and well through these difficult times.”