AIF welcomes confirmation of festivals' eligibility for arts rescue package

AIF welcomes confirmation of festivals' eligibility for arts rescue package

The Association of Independent Festivals (AIF) has welcomed confirmation from the government that UK festivals will share in the £1.57 billion arts emergency fund.

The news comes after the trade body called for urgent clarity on the eligibility of UK festivals for the financial support package.

Arts Council England will oversee £500 million to support institutions across the arts and cultural sector, including theatres, music and comedy venues and museums, across the first round of funding, with grants ranging between £50,000 and £3m. The allocation includes £2.25m in targeted immediate, emergency support for grassroots music venues, announced last weekend.

AIF CEO Paul Reed (pictured) said: “While the effectiveness of this emergency fund in helping our sector through the pandemic will be determined by exactly how it is allocated, we are cautiously optimistic about this update, which makes the eligibility of festivals explicit.

“We understand that, thanks to contributions from our members illustrating their current predicament, DCMS officials were able to make significant representations for festival inclusion and we’re very thankful for that support.

“Festivals across the UK are undoubtedly ‘crown jewels’, both culturally and economically, in the local areas they serve and the nation as a whole. Supporting the sector until next year will also kick-start other parts of the supply chain. Survival, and a healthy festival market in 2021, will result in artists being booked, sites and stages being built and money being spent by the public.” 

AIF submitted a report to DCMS based on survey information and data from its members, highlighting that the music festival sector generates an estimated £1.75 billion GVA for the UK annually, with at least 10% of this directly benefitting local businesses and economies. The sector supports 85,000 jobs and the UK is world-renowned as a leader in music festivals.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said: "Help is on the way to our much loved cultural and heritage organisations with our £1.57 billion fund. This support package will protect buildings, organisations and people to help ensure our wonderful institutions, big and small, pull through Covid.

"Today we’re publishing guidance so organisations know how to access help. We’re also calling on organisations to be creative in diversifying their income streams and the public to continue supporting the places they love so this funding can be spread as far and wide as possible.”

Earlier this month, Reed told Music Week the UK’s festival business required a £30m cash injection for events in “immediate crisis”.

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