The founding director of the Body&Soul music and lifestyle festival has said she is "heartbroken" that the 2020 edition will not be going ahead in Co Westmeath in June, following the Government's confirmation that events with crowds of more than 5,000 will not be licensed up to the end of August.

Body&Soul was due to take place at Ballinlough Castle, Co Westmeath from June 19 to 21, with Róisín Murphy and Metronomy among the headliners.

In a statement on Wednesday, Body&Soul's founding director Avril Stanley said: "This is a challenging time for everyone, including the Body&Soul family, and I am heartbroken to confirm that Body&Soul 2020 cannot go ahead due to updated Covid-19 restrictions guidelines that were issued by the Government which state that all large scale gatherings are banned up to the end of August 2020.  

"While the impact of this decision creates ripples throughout our creative community spread across the globe, Body&Soul's top priority lies in keeping its artists, attendees, staff and extended community healthy and safe, and we absolutely respect the Government's decision and the steps it must take to protect everyone amidst this unprecedented crisis. 

Body&Soul has become one of the big draws on the Irish festival calendar

"Having shelved an incredible decade of an ever-evolving festival landscape, we were due to celebrate our 11th edition this Summer Solstice weekend across the new artisan food trails in the Castle's Walled Gardens, extensive wellness Sanctuary space, immersive art installations, inspiring visionary talks and one of our favourite line ups yet, including Metronomy, Róisín Murphy, King Kong Company and Princess Nokia.

"I would like to extend my sincerest gratitude to all the Body&Soulers; staff, volunteers, artists, partners and facilitators who have invested their time and energy and worked so hard to create the 2020 event.

"The ticketing company will be contacting everyone who has purchased a ticket about the refund process. We appreciate your patience on this matter and they will get to you as soon as is humanly possible.

Róisín Murphy was due to have headlined

"While we may not be able to gather in person this June, we are with you in spirit." 

Stanley reassured festival-goers that Body&Soul is "not going anywhere".

"In the meantime, mind one another," she concluded. "Together, we'll make it through to the other side of this, slowly but surely." 

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