AIF calls for clarity for festivals over government's £1.57bn arts package

AIF calls for clarity for festivals over government's £1.57bn arts package

The Association of Independent Festivals (AIF) has called for urgent clarity on the eligibility of the UK’s festival sector for the government’s £1.57 billion support package for the arts. 

But while the DCMS stated that “live music” is among the sectors that will benefit from the package there has been no mention of festivals, with only music venues specified.

According to AIF, the UK’s festivals will miss out on an entire year’s worth of income due to the Covid-19 pandemic and have lost an average of £375,000 per event. Many are facing collapse, with redundancies of 59% expected across the sector without urgent Government intervention. 

AIF CEO Paul Reed said: “The AIF has had close contact with DCMS throughout the lockdown period, helping them to understand the needs of UK festivals during this difficult time. We have urged Government to offer a robust financial package to the sector to ensure its survival.

“The announcement of emergency support for the arts is clearly welcome but it is worrying that there has still been no specific mention of the UK’s festival industry – a sector that contributes so much to the economy and people’s lives, and one that finds itself in a uniquely precarious position during this pandemic."

Festivals contribute an estimated £1.75 billion in Gross Value Added to the UK economy annually and support 85,000 jobs across the country.

“The time for lip service is over," added Reed. "UK festivals have, to date, largely fallen through the cracks when it comes to financial aid and business support. Boris Johnson has told Parliament that he is doing all he can to support our ‘very, very valuable sector’ but we are yet to see evidence of that. We need the Prime Minister to back this up with meaningful action and confirm that festival organisers will be eligible to access this emergency support package.”

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