Association of Independent Festivals warns that 98.5% of independent festivals are not covered by insurance for covid-related cancellations.

UK trade body the Association of Independent Festivals (AIF) has called upon the government to take urgent action to protect the festival industry. In a statement on their website, the association warned that the UK “could face an independent festival wasteland in 2021 and beyond if decisive Government action is not taken to support the sector.”

UK festivals is facing refund requests of up to £800m due to coronavirus-related cancellations. AIF report that 98.5 of their members, who include events like Sound City, Standon Calling, Greenbelt and Deer Shed Festival are not covered by insurance for coronavirus-related cancellations or refund requests. It is predicted that at least 90% of UK festivals will not take place this year.

The association has carried out member surveys which found that “92% of AIF festival organisers have said that their firms are at risk without Government intervention, with the effects of COVID-19 likely to result in businesses collapsing under refund requests.” There is a high risk of substantial redundancies, with AIF warning of “59% on average” across the sector if there is no government action. The AIF also note that “there is no safety net for independent festivals, many of which have fallen between the cracks of current Government support measures… For example, zero % of AIF members have been able to successfully access the coronavirus Business Interruption Loans Scheme”.

The AIF are lobbying the government to continue all employment (furloughing and self-employed) schemes and to acknowledge the seasonal nature of the entertainment sector compared to retail. They have called on the government to issue clear information and timelines on the lifting of lockdown, and for high-level information on social distancing and public safety measures once lockdown is lifted.

According to industry body UK Music, 4.9m people attended a UK festival in 2018.

Photo: Andrew Allcock

13th May, 2020

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