THE axe has fallen on Party at the Palace just a few weeks before the festival was set to go ahead this summer.

Music fans were expected to gather at Linlithgow on August 6-8 to catch the likes of Manic Street Preachers, Sophie Ellis-Bextor, The Snuts, Luke la Volpe, Mark Sharp and the Bicycle Thieves Connor Fyfe, Cody Feechan, Stephanie Cheape, Club Beirut, PRIMES, False Friends as well as comedy sets from Bill Bailey and more.

Organisers had hoped they would be able to host the event before August 9 - the date the Scottish Government has set down for the removal of many restrictions.

However, issues surrounding the interpretation of government guidance and a lack of a viable insurance policy from the UK Government proved key.

The PATP sister festival Party at the Park, which was meant to take place in Perth, has also been cancelled for 2021.

In a statement issued last night, organisers said: "It is with huge disappointment and frustration that we have to announce the cancellation of both Party at The Palace in Linlithgow and Party at The Park in Perth. Both were three-day events with an expected audience of around 18,000 at each. With a further 1,000 staff, crew and artists at each also.

"Unfortunately, we were left with absolutely no alternative and we feel particularly let down by a lack of communication and guidance from the Scottish Government.

"There seemed to be no understanding that our events take months to plan. Relying on three-weekly updates, conflicting advice and unclear guidance made it impossible to give assurances to our customers, artists, staff and traders."

One issue was the suggestion that PATP would have to offer table service for the bar patrons - a position that was not shared by organisers. 

The statement read: "Advice given to local authorities was open to very different interpretations and while Perth and Kinross were supportive and encouraging the same cannot be said for West Lothian Council who were given the exact same published guidance.

"We were also disappointed that the Scottish Government could not deliver an insurance policy for events. Although we recognise that this is a reserved matter and the responsibility of the UK Government, we felt that if there had been a real willingness to get events in Scotland back on, more could have been done."

A number of massive events have taken place across England recently with the Euros hosting packed fan zones, the Goodwood Festival of Speed and the Download Festival pilot which welcomed 10,000.

Liverpool also hosted a day festival in May with no detectable spread of the virus.

PATP organisers continued: "Sadly, Scotland is lagging behind our counterparts in other areas of the UK and we genuinely fear we won’t be the last festival to cancel this year. Another year without events for the thousands of freelancers and staff in this industry is not sustainable.

"We are already seeing a drain of talent and culture to events and festivals down south. We had been told six months ago by the Scottish Government that they could not envisage a scenario where events are allowed to take place in England but not in Scotland. This is clearly not the reality when events with capacities of up to 200,000 have taken place south of the border."

"It was the pilot and test events in England that formed the basis of our detailed and robust coronavirus plans which nobody in authority even asked to see or discuss.

"We are raising these issues in the hope that it is not too late for the other festivals and events that are still due to take place this year. Without intervention by the Scottish Government to ensure that events have insurance and that local authorities have clear guidance then music festivals face a very bleak future."

The Weekender is awaiting a statement from the Scottish Government.

A West Lothian Council spokesperson said: “We understand the huge challenges faced by Party at the Palace (PATP) and other events as the country continues to work its way through the restrictions due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The local authority and its officers have been open and upfront with the organisers regarding the challenges and uncertainties which have to be addressed. We have taken consideration of guidance issued by the Scottish Government, and the national expert working groups providing advice and interpretation of the regulations and guidance.

“For example, the requirement for table service was reviewed by an expert group of senior Trading Standards and Environmental Health professionals. The group, which is recognised by and works with the Scottish Government and advises all 32 local authorities, issued advice that table service would be required at events such as PATP. We are not aware that this advice has been disputed by any organisation.

“We appreciate the desire for businesses and events to resume, and we continue to work within the regulations and guidance issued nationally to ensure public health can be protected. The viability of an event under Covid-19 restrictions is a decision for event organisers, and we would encourage all those involved in events to work constructively with us to ensure they can be safely staged.”

PATP 2022 update

Tickets can be rolled over into 2022 at 2021 prices.

Refunds can be sought via the place of purchase. Those who bought through the PATAP website can use their refund form

Organisers have asked customers to be patient while refunds are processed. All refund requests must be received by July 31, after which time the tickets will be rolled over into 2022.

For more, visit