‘We Require Action Now’: United kingdom Independent Festivals Sound The Alarm

The Nozstock The Hidden Valley pageant main stage by night time in 2019. The festival’s 2024 edition will be its very last. (Image by Charlie Rimmer)

The UK’s Affiliation of Independent Festivals (AIF) has introduced a new marketing campaign, once yet again calling on politicians to reduce the VAT level on pageant tickets, which “would help save a lot of occasion promoters from closures in 2024,” in accordance to the association.

The marketing campaign is known as “5% For Festivals.” According to AIF, it “is an recognition campaign that seeks to advise competition-goers about the problems that audio festival promoters have faced in excess of the previous 5 decades, encouraging them to get hold of their MPs to foyer for a a lot desired VAT reduction on tickets.”

Talking at the AIF’s Pageant Congress in Bristol, England, Feb. 1, the organization’s CEO John Rostron warned that a lot more festivals would be compelled to shut down this 12 months, “if decisive motion is not taken.”

AIF investigation indicates that at least 36 festivals cancelled before they had been due to choose location in 2023. The amount 1 reason was the economic pressures amongst revenue and fees, which chimes with what Rostron laid out in a latest job interview with Pollstar.

This craze has ongoing into 2024, with six United kingdom festivals obtaining introduced some variety of cancellation this 12 months: NASS Competition, Leopollooza, and Extensive Division all named time right after their 2023 editions.

Bluedot and Barn On The Farm will not be getting location this yr, and hope circumstances improve for them to return in 2025. Nozstock The Hidden Valley will make its 2024 edition its very last.

See: NASS & Nozstock Spotlight The Tension On British isles Festivals

John Rostron credit Jody Hartley
AIF CEO John Rostron. (Image by Jody Hartley)

The challenge stems from the lockdowns a few yrs in the past, which prevented festivals from going in advance. Festivals returned in 2022 on tickets that experienced rolled-in excess of considering that 2019, offered for a cost centered on 2019’s fees and budgets. By the time promoters in fact shipped the functions in 2022, put up-pandemic outcomes, and Brexit experienced caused fees to enhance dramatically, according to the AIF “by an common of 30%.”

Considering the fact that promoters did not inquire audiences to shell out far more on best of the tickets they experienced acquired in 2019, lots of manufactured a reduction.

Due to the fact 2022, the money pressures have only been compounded by inflation, war, and energy charge boosts.

“Without obtaining experienced a one continual time considering that the pandemic in which to get better, festivals are less than much more financial pressure than ever,” AIF sums it up.

As the affiliation and other reside gamers in the United kingdom have been pointing out for several years, a short term alternative from the Uk government would be to decrease the price additional tax charged on each ticket sale from 20% to 5%, preferably for the upcoming a few a long time, It is “all that is wanted to give promoters the space they need to rebuild,” says AIF.

AIF’s 5% For Festivals campaign features a new web site that outlines the troubles promoters are struggling with and provides festival-goers instruments to write to their MPs about the VAT reduction.

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AIF CEO John Rostron commented, “We seriously are at a crucial stage for the UK’s festival sector. Five decades ago, it would have been difficult to picture that promoters would have to endure a little something as harmful as the Covid-19 pandemic – but many of them did, with out passing the unavoidable value on to the purchaser. To think that, since then, they have had to control the effects of Brexit, war in Ukraine, inflation and an electrical power disaster is staggering. That pageant-goers were being capable to delight in some of the excellent functions they did in 2023 is testomony to the resilience and enthusiasm of these promoters. But we lost 36 festivals past year, and with six festivals getting postponed exercise in 2024 or shut the gates for superior, we are on track to see very well more than double the variety of casualties this yr.

“UK festivals want time to get better and rebuild. They require assistance from our Government. A reduction in VAT on competition tickets from 20% to 5% for 3 several years is an evidence-based, very simple, practical remedy that would ease the money stress on promoters enough for them to return to health and fitness. We want this motion now.”

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