From farmers & festivals to rubber-boot sellers: how the rain has left the UK all washed out

This summer's exceptionally wet weather isn't just turning high streets to rivers and camp sites to lakes.

It's starting to seriously hurt many UK businesses, both large and small.

It's taking a heavy toll on the farming and tourism industries and has caused hundreds of cancellations of traditional shows and festivals.

It's even threatening to push the country's unemployment level still higher.

Here's a snapshot of how Britain is reeling from the unseasonal onslaught, all the way from Drumtochty in Aberdeenshire to Doddington in Kent.

'I'm devastated for everyone': high-profile casualties of the rain

A pop concert that would have seen a reunion performance by Kylie Minogue and Jason Donovan has been the most headline-grabbing cancellation so far.

The event was to have taken place in Hyde Park in London, and would have seen the pair reunite on stage for the first time in over 20 years. But damage caused by another festival just a few days earlier, combined with fresh rain, proved too much. Veteran music producer Pete Waterman, who had helped mastermind the concert that was to reunite artists who found fame on his PWL label, said he was "devastated for everyone" involved. "People have come from all over the world to make this happen," he said, but "police, parks and safety people said it's completely unsafe. What can I say? We've had exceptional weather. If it's not safe, it's not safe and you can't control that."

On the same day came news that one of the country's largest agricultural shows had also fallen victim to the weather. The Great Yorkshire Show in Harrogate was cancelled after just one day, because the rain had made car parks "too muddy to use with any safety". The show's director Bill Cowling described the decision as "heartbreaking". The event, in its 154th year, was expected to attract more than 130,000 visitors; the cost of cancellation is expected to total around £2m.

Other significant casualties have included the British Grand Prix at Silverstone, where thousands of ticket-holders were turned away due to waterlogged car parks, and the T in the Park festival near Kinross, where downpours turned much of the festival site into a mudbath.

People struggle to move a caravan in stuck in the mud in a campsite at the Great Yorkshire Showground in HarrogateAnna Gowthorpe, PA Wire

'I'm keeping my fingers crossed people will want boots': outdoor festivals

It's not just high-profile events that have been hit. The Festival of British Eventing at Gatcombe Park in Gloucestershire, a key fixture in the equestrian calendar, has been scrapped. The event's co-organiser and former husband of Princess Anne, Captain Mark Phillips, admitted: "We know that riders and spectators will be disappointed - especially as so many events have been cancelled already this year. We did everything possible to ensure that the event took place but sadly the hard-working ground crew has been defeated by the weather."

The cancellation is another blow to the local economy of the south Cotswolds, which has already been hit by the scrapping of the Badminton horse trials in May. Local news reports that hotels, restaurants, pubs, B&Bs, shops, taxi firms and local stallholders "from Stroud to Malmesbury" have been "counting the cost of another major event cancelled because of the weather."

Spare a thought for sportswear trader Ian Stafford, who was left with a huge pile of wellies after the cancellation of the Badminton trials; each of the events where he was hoping to sell them keeps getting rained off. He is now pinning his hopes on the Womad festival at the end of July. "I'm keeping my fingers crossed that will go ahead and that people will want boots there," Mr Stafford conceded.

'Anything that relies on good weather will be hit': hospitality sector feels the hurt

Hundreds of smaller scale outdoor events are also being affected. The Burntwood Wakes festival in Staffordshire was scrapped after the grounds at Burntwood Rugby Club became over-saturated. The 10th annual Indian Summer Mela at Christchurch Park in Ipswich fell victim to the rain. Peterborough Arts Festival finale's was another casualty, with a spokesperson describing conditions in the city's main park as so bad that "access in and out of certain areas was impossible". Wellingborough carnival was also cancelled, but not before two lorries got stuck on the site in thick mud.

"The hospitality sector is being hit by people being discouraged from going out," says Andy Goodwin, senior economic adviser to Ernst & Young's Item Club. "Anything that relies on good weather [is being] hit: open air festivals, concerts, theatres."

At the same time, bookings to festival destinations across Europe have rocketed. The online ferry ticket aggregator Directferries.co.uk has reported experiencing a huge increase in bookings compared to the same period in 2011. Bookings to the port of Gdynia, Poland, for the Openíer festival on 7/8 July saw an increase of over 500% on last year, while ferry ticket sales to Valencia, which is hosting the Benicassim festival from 12 July, have increased by 800%.

'Ground conditions would have affected truck movements': a wash-out in Wales

A series of shows have been called off in Wales, including the North Wales Show in Caernarfon, the Aberystwyth and Dyffryn Ogwen shows, and the Bancffosfelen Show in Kidwelly, Carmarthenshire. Ceredigion Trotting Festival was rescheduled then abandoned, while a meeting at Ffos Las racecourse in Carmathenshire was called off because the track was waterlogged. Organisers of a polo competition scheduled to take place at the Celtic Manor Hotel in Newport had to abandon the event when parts of the field reached saturation point.

The Wales Truck Show in Carmarthen also fell victim to the weather. Matthew Jenkins, secretary of the show committee, explained: "An inspection of the site indicated it would not be possible to run the main ring events without sustained dry weather during the week ahead. The poor ground conditions would also have affected truck movements, tradestands and other attractions."

The A487 into Machynlleth in Powys, Wales is blocked by the fire service due to safety concerns caused by fast flowing flood waterPA Wire

'The fields would have turned into a bog': soggy in Scotland

Scotland has also been badly hit. The Ashbourne Highland Gathering was cancelled due to a waterlogged recreation ground. The event's future is now reportedly uncertain, and depends on the results of an insurance payout due to be settled in the next few weeks. The Drumtochty Highland Games was cancelled for the first time in its 36-year history, while the 2012 Fettercairn Show in Aberdeenshire was abandoned for only the second time in its 178-year history.

Show convener Alison Argo said: "The prolonged rain simply left the field too wet. We are very disappointed, but we have to think of the safety of the animals as well as the spectators and there is now doubt the fields would have turned into a bog."

'The visitors are just not here': tourism struggles to deal with the downpours

The tourism industry has been around long enough to deal with occasional outbreaks of unseasonal weather, but this year's prolonged rain seems to have taken a heavy toll. As an example, in Weston-super-Mare hotel and restaurant owners say trade during June fell by up to 60%. Coach firms have cancelled hotel bookings at just three days notice, while only attractions fully or partially under cover, such as the Grand Pier, Bristol Zoo and the SS Great Britain, have reported strong takings.

Weston Hotels and Restaurants Association president Keith Fearn doesn't hold back. "This has been our worst summer ever," he told the This Is Somerset website. "We do depend a lot on knock-on-the-door trade and this has almost completely disappeared. The drop in trade also affects the local shops, restaurants and bars as the visitors are just not here."

'People discover holes in their shoes': the mood on the high street

A woman shoppingDominic Lipinski, PA Wire

Perhaps people are choosing to spend their money closer to home. Shoppers have been subjected to a fierce cost-cutting war on the high street, with July already seeing the highest-ever level of discounting.

Nine out of 10 clothing retailers held sales over the weekend of 7/8 July, offering an average discount of 55%. According to accountancy Pricewaterhouse Coopers, this is the highest level of discounting ever seen in July. The Telegraph has reported the likes of Debenhams, French Connection and Warehouse cutting prices by up to 70%, while Marks & Spencer offered 20% off all swimwear.

But at the same time the number of people visiting shops appears to have fallen. According to Experian Footfall, the number of people on the high street on 28 June, the wettest day of the month, was down by 16% compared to the same day in 2011. Throughout June the number of people shopping fell by 1.6% year-on-year.

Maureen Hinton, senior retail analyst at Verdict Research, puts this down to a reluctance on the part of people to leave their homes at all. "Sales don't always go up when people discount heavily because often, shoppers just decide they won't go out and shop, even if lots of bargains are on offer," she said.

You'd expect some firms to profit from the weather, and sure enough the chairman of the Manchester-based Timpson Group has said the rain has sent demand soaring for shoe repairs, umbrellas and dry cleaning.

According to John Timpson, revenues from shoe repairs were down 0.4% in the exceptionally-dry six months to 1 April, but rose 7.5% in the subsequent three months against the same period last year. Sales of umbrellas fell 5% in the six months to 1 April, but since then have gone up by a massive 47%.

Mr Timpson explained: "The rain means people discover in their shoes holes they didn't know they had and this, combined with the 'make do and mend' culture we are seeing, means demand for shoe repairs has risen dramatically. The rainfall also means people are wearing coats and other substantial garments that they would normally leave at home in hot weather, and they get muckier in the wet weather, which creates more demand for dry cleaning."

'The strawberries are bruised': challenging times for farmers

Less happy, understandably, is Britain's farming community.

In Leicestershire, a dairy farmer has described conditions as among the most challenging of the past 70 years. Martin Barnes, of Southfields Farm in Somerby, said much of the ground at his farm has been waterlogged and feeding his 120 cows has become difficult, affecting the quality of milk produced and possibly the profits.

In Yorkshire the weather has affected almost every crop in the region, according to the National Farmers Union. Rachel Gillbanks, a NFU regional representative, said: "What is unique this year is that it's not just one crop - it's across the board. One strawberry grower I spoke to near York said he had lost 80% of his crop. We just aren't getting the sunlight."

In Kent, Kevin Attwood of Downe Court Farm in Doddington has told of how his "cherries will be split by the rain, the strawberries are bruised and there's the risk of fungal moulds." While arable farming, such as wheat and oilseed, is currently unaffected by the rain, if the wet weather continues there could be a serious problem.

Mr Attwood continued: "We need sun to ripen crops to make grain or oilseed. When it's ready to cut we need dry weather. If it's not dry in August then it will be a difficult harvest. At the moment I'm not too worried, but ask me in three weeks if it's still raining and it might be a different story."

A dairy farmer attends the National Farmer's Union 'Dairy Summit' in Westminster, central LondonDominic Lipinski, PA Wire

'Seasonal hiring could be hit': jobs and livelihoods at risk

Finally, the weather could be about have consequences for the job market. "If the rain is bad enough to affect the harvest then seasonal hiring could be hit," explains Andy Goodwin. This will mean a particularly hard time for graduates looking for a summer job. Garden centres, holiday camps and clothing retailers are being tipped as the sorts of businesses that might be deciding against taking on new staff.

Chris Williamson, chief economist at Markit, adds: "The flooding has been terrible for certain communities. Local retailers will have been hit by reduced demand, and some of them will be having to deal with damaged goods."

Unemployment figures for the whole of the UK have shown slight falls in recent months. This trend could be halted and possibly reversed if the wet weather starts to hit careers and livelihoods on a widespread scale.

Were the high levels of rain, coupled with disruption from flooding, continue to affect the country for a further few weeks, all the evidence suggests the biggest casualty of all might turn out to be the British economy.

And given we are already in a recession, that could mean a stormy rest of 2012 for all of us - even if the sun does, from time to time, decide to shine.