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AIF warns of ‘festival wasteland’

23 May 2020

THE ASSOCIATION of Independent Festivals (AIF) warns of a ‘festival wasteland’ next year without urgent Government action

It says 92 per cent of the businesses behind member festivals could “collapse under refund requests”, unless the Government takes action to safeguard them. 

AIF says the independent festival sector could be facing potential refunds of up to £800 million in total this summer, with a prediction that at least 90 per cent of UK festivals will not take place this year.

With 98.5 per cent of its members not covered by insurance for cancellation related to Covid-19, the organisation estimates that an average investment of  £375,000 by organisers in their events is not recoupable,.   

“While the Government has been receptive to AIF’s counsel, it has not taken meaningful action to protect our sector,” says AIF CEO Paul Reed.

“Single event festival companies are seasonal businesses. They need urgent support now and ongoing support after lockdown ends and restrictions are eased. 

“This is not a temporary shutdown of business – it is an entire year of income and trade wiped out.”

AIF’s recommends a continuation of all original employment (furloughing and self-employed schemes) and business support packages until the festival industry can get to the planning and sales stage of 2021 events.  

The organisation’s 65 members have a collective audience capacity of 820,000 and generate an estimated £386m for the economy annually, with almost 10 per cent of that spend going to businesses based around each festival’s site.

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