"HEARTBROKEN" festival bosses have cancelled one of Scotland's biggest music festivals amidst "continued uncertainty" about whether or not Covid rules would lift in time.

Doune the Rabbit Hole was supposed to run from August 12-15 and attract up to 10,000 fans a day.

Dizzee Rascal and Teenage Fanclub were amongst the acts on the bill.

But with less than three weeks to go, ticket-holders have been told the show cannot go on due to uncertainty about what rules will be in place around social distancing.

It had been hoped that the Stirlingshire event could be held without social distancing.  However, organisers said Stirling Council couldn't issue the necessary licence without knowing what the rules will be over the festival period.

While a decision was due on August 9, the team says that's too tight and has made the call-off decision now.

The move follows similar steps by the firms behind Party in the Palace in Linlithgow and Doonhame, Dumfries and Galloway.

While the Scottish Government's provisional calendar suggested July 19 for the ending of distancing measures outdoors, this did not happen and the next review is expected on August 3.

In an official statement, Doune The Rabbit Hole said they were "heartbroken", adding: "We realise that this will be enormously disappointing to a great many people, principally our audience, but also the musicians and artists, traders, volunteers, the hundreds of people who we employ at the festival itself, and the businesses and residents local to the festival who will be missing out for yet another year.

"The decision has been taken after every possible effort to put the festival on. This included a meeting on 20 July with Kate Forbes MSP, Scotland's Finance Secretary, who has been most helpful. Since then, her officials from the Scottish Government’s major events team, have been working with us and Stirling Council to try to save this year's festival.

"However, while we firmly believe we could hold the festival safely, the areas of uncertainty over this summer's public health regulation in Scotland remain too great."

This year is now the second in a row that the event has been postponed due to Covid. As many as 85% of 2020 tickets were "rolled over" to this year by holders who chose not to seek refunds. This option is now being offered again.

The statement went on: "We are so sorry to bring you this news and to spoil many plans for the summer. We firmly believe Doune the Rabbit Hole 2022 will be our best festival yet and we hope to see you there."