A Ballymena cultural institution has fallen victim to the chaos caused by the onset of corona virus.
It was announced last week that Ballymena Festival of music, speech and dance, a long standing fixture in the local calendar will not take place in 2021.
In an announcement on social media, senior officials said their decision had to be taken because of the uncertainty surrounding Covid 19.
In a joint statement, Chairman Stanley Hughes and David Loughridge, General Secretary explained:
“Due to the unpredictable and unknown nature of the Coronavirus infection spread, along with the enormous amount of preparation involved, the Executive Committee of Ballymena Festival of Music, Speech and Dance, has agreed to suspend all Festival 2021 activities.
“This decision has not been taken lightly, nor with-out much discussion and it is with profound regret that we make this announcement.
“The safety and well-being of everyone involved, including many volunteers, without whose commitment the festival could not exist, featured highly in our decision. In due course, we will contact all our members, volunteers and sponsors to express our gratitude to them for their dedication and support.
“We are justifiably proud of the status of Ballymena Festival, a festival with a strong performance ethos.
“For over a century this organisation has provided a platform for a huge number of young people to express their forte in music, speech or dance.
“Indeed, many former performers have taken to the world stage with their chosen craft.
“We trust therefore, that those young entrants who, in a better time, would have performed brilliantly, will not be too disappointed but rather progress well in their studies in preparation for a future festival without current restrictions.”