SOME of the most exciting planes and airborne stunt shows are set to be flying high over Swansea next summer after the pandemic forced this year’s Wales Airshow to be grounded. It means what promises to be the biggest and best Wales Airshow ever will be back on July 2 and 3, 2022.
The move comes after a string of airshows around Britain have been cancelled due to continuing uncertainty about UK and Welsh Government’s ability to give the green light for very large spectator events this summer.
Events at Rhyl, Blackpool, Weston-super-Mare and Southport have already been called off and now Swansea Council has reluctantly accepted the Wales Airshow 2021 will be cancelled for this year.
Robert Francis-Davies, Cabinet member for investment, regeneration and tourism, said: “We’ve been there for the people of Swansea throughout the pandemic and we will be there for our communities as we emerge from it.
“We were desperate to see a return for Wales’ biggest free spectator event this year and we’ve waited as long as possible before making a decision in the hope it would be able to go ahead.
“Test events are ongoing but there is still no indication of when it might be possible to lift restrictions on social distancing, or when there may be clarity about whether it could go ahead, given more than 250,000 usually attend the event.
Cllr Francis-Davies said: “We want to restart our amazing annual events programmes as soon as the pandemics restrictions allow. We know people want to get back to enjoying concerts, events, gigs and festivals and we are working hard to design a programme that could be activated for the latter part of 2021 and early next year.
“However for the Wales Airshow, which takes months to plan and attracts more than 250,000 visitors, it unfortunately takes place before the point where there is certainty about whether restrictions laid down by the national governments, would allow an event with such large numbers.
“Therefore we have been forced to make a decision to cancel. However as soon as we have that certainty about the months ahead our teams will be working to confirm other events.
“The end of 2021 and 2022 could be a phenomenal year with the opening of the new Arena, fewer or no restrictions, the return of big events, and a backlog of deferred concerts and festivals.”
Regarded as one of the biggest and most popular free events in Wales and attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors to Swansea Bay, this year’s event was due to take place on Saturday 3 July and Sunday 4 July.
The council’s events team is already considering a summer schedule of events that might be able to go ahead and working up plans for a spectacular November fireworks display and Christmas parade in the event that they can go ahead with these subject to guidance and other factors.
Cllr Francis-Davies added: “If there’s one lesson we’ve all learned over the last 12 months or so it is that public safety must always be the number one priority when it comes to Covid-19.
“But as we emerge from the pandemic, restrictions are eased and the benefits of the amazing NHS vaccination programme continue to be felt, there is optimism for the future.
“We want to be able to put a smile back on people’s faces even if sometimes the pandemic might mean they’re hidden behind masks.”
He added: “Our events calendar is a moving feast and we have been continually re-adjusting our own programme as well as that of our partners and other private sector events in an ever-evolving landscape.
“We are still keeping a watching eye on summer and autumn with a view to both hosting and enabling events to take place in line with Welsh Government guidance.”