October Whitby Goth Weekend 'is not cancelled' say organisers as coronavirus health and safety regulations finalised

One of Yorkshire's most well-known cultural events may be one of the few to escape the chop this year following the Covid-19 pandemic.

Whitby Goth Festival

Whitby Goth Festival's October event is still set to go ahead, according to organisers, as arrangements are made to ensure steps are in place to allow for social distancing.

A statement issued by the festival on social media on Saturday evening said, "Whitby Goth Weekend October 2020 is not cancelled".

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The event which has been attracting thousands across the North York Moors since it was founded in 1994 usually takes place twice a year in Spring and Autumn, but was cancelled this Spring due to the pandemic.

It celebrates all things dark and Gothic subcultures, and is a vital part of sustaining the town's tourism industry and local, independent businesses.

Organisers for the weekend said they were "still juggling piles of paperwork and health and safety materials" to ensure this year's Autumn event would still be happening.

The statement said: "The backbone of Whitby Goth Weekend is always, and has always been, the Bizarre Bazaar, something that has always been the make and break of our event taking place.

"Whitby Leisure Centre have contacted us to say that they are confident they will be able to ensure the infrastructure and health and safety measures for a safe event.

Whitby Goth Festival

"We have to deal with a lot of health and safety paperwork across a lot of different desks and we've a lot of delicate balances to sort out, but the underline is that all is not yet lost. Whitby Goth Weekend has a major role in the local economy and hundreds of independent businesses, not to mention the alternative cultures that attend our event.

"We're not prone to quitting - some rivals have dubbed us a 'cockroach' and we're all too happy to keep up with that.

"We can't yet specify a date when we will know for certain, but, for now, we are working with all parties to find a meeting of the minds that functions safely, effectively and beneficially for everyone."

Tourism has been a huge casualty for the region as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, with many local businesses plunged into financial insecurity as a result.

Whitby Goth Festival

In April, a report by Sheffield Hallam University found Yorkshire's economy could lose billions as an impact of lockdown and events being cancelled, with the tourism industry worth an estimated £9bn to the region.