COVID-19 - UPDATE OPENSKIES 2020
(June 30, 2020) Latest update for those of you who have been part of the OpenSkies summer festival or worship nights in the past or were planning to attend for the first time this year -
We have just been through the strangest and most uncertain times of a lifetime - it now feels like an exit is in sight but back to normal is in fact back to a new and unchartered normal.
For the last few weeks we have been holding on to a small glimmer of hope that we might still be able to hold the festival in Ireland this August while keeping everyone safe and observing the government guidelines across our island for that time - however even though lockdown rules are easing in N Ireland we now accept that it just isn’t possible to plan for and hold an event of the scale of OpenSkies with a mass gathering of people, sung worship, camping , toilet facilities , food vendors , travelling artists & speakers etc in a way that guarantees everyones’ safety but retains the normal intimacy and connection of the OpenSkies community .
We are not fearful, God is in control but as the united Church we also need to take care of each other and those around us.
It has also been a difficult time for people to commit to buying the tickets for the event and that leaves us with too high a financial risk of proceeding with only 5 weeks remaining to the planned date. So we have no choice but to postpone this years festival to 2021.
If you were planning to come to Openskies this year for the first time or you are someone been a regular attendee we are sorry. We are planning to create an on-line / worship at home OpenSkies experience for this year - we have some very exciting ideas around that to bring the character and essence of OpenSkies festival to you all at home and with the added opportunity for new people around Europe and the world to join us in that format. And we are already preparing and planning to be back with the physical festival at Shanes Castle on the weekend of 13-15 August 2021.
We are extremely grateful for all of you who had committed already to buying your earlybird tickets for 2020 - we will be refunding those tickets in full for this year. We have incurred some upfront expenses for this years cancelled event and we do still have regular ongoing costs and commitments which are now not covered. So we want to give you the opportunity to support us and ensure we are good for the online event costs and the festival in 2021 - there will be a donate button on the website and on social
media if you want to donate some or all of your ticket price back, or if you haven’t bought yet and want to support the ministry financially on a one off or regular basis.
The OpenSkies team continues to pray for our community as we exit Covid-19 situation and start to gather together in our local churches in small groups , drive in , whatever format the safety guidelines allow !
We remain committed to our primary purpose of creating a space for worship and encounter with God for the church in unity for the island of Ireland and those who join us from elsewhere and can't wait until we gather face to face again.
Peace and blessings, OpenSkies Team