Industry association says outdoor events business 'on brink' due to pandemic

Industry association says outdoor events business 'on brink' due to pandemic

The National Outdoor Events Association (NOEA) has warned the festival and events industry is "on the brink" after the 2020 summer season was wiped out due to the Covid-19 pandemic.  

Research conducted across NOEA's membership of 480 event-based companies has revealed the average loss to event businesses is £539,431 with over half suffering losses of £100,000 or more, leaving even major brands at threat.

Some companies are already suffering multi-million pound losses, while jobs within the sector are under severe threat. Three quarters of the companies surveyed have utilised the staff furlough scheme, but more than 65% are planning redundancies and 51% of have said they will last until the end of 2020 without further support. 

These events are one pay cheque away from going out of business

Tom Clements

National Outdoor Events Association

“These events are one pay cheque away from going out of business,” said NOEA president Tom Clements. “If they can get them, government grants will get businesses through the next few months, but without any confidence on a September return, the vast portion of the festival season will be gone or at best stagnant until March/April next year.”

Of those surveyed, 65% only have liquidity for six months or less and 41% only have enough for the next three months. While 65% of those surveyed have already applied for government grants, 80% have yet to receive anything.

“If there are no events, these companies will desperately need more financial support. If not, they will go out of business," said Clements. "Creating events brands is difficult. To produce the next Reading, Leeds or Trnsmt takes years as well as a genuine incentive to do so. If these events go, they won’t be coming back any time soon.”

The UK outdoor events industry provides employment for more than 589,000 people.

“Realistically we could be looking at losing between a fifth and a quarter of these people, which is devastating," said Clements. "These are creative people who have helped shape the events industry into the rich source of entertainment, culture, civic pride, employment and business stimulus it is today. We can’t afford to lose them out of the industry." 

The body has given its backing The Full Capacity Plan, put forward by Festival Republic MD Melvin Benn, which proposes to incentivise more testing through events, enabling them to go ahead without the need for social distancing.

“We’re 100% behind these proposals, it allows events to be a solution, not a threat, and a chance to kick start our industry and save some of the outstanding businesses that are currently at risk," added Clements.

Live executives speak to Music Week about how the industry can recover from the coronavirus crisis here.

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