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Independent UK Festivals 'At Risk' Due To COVID-19 Pandemic
Christian Eede , May 13th, 2020 21:03

92% of Association of Independent Festivals members say their businesses will likely not survive without government support

The UK's independent festival sector is on the brink of collapse due to the COVID-19 pandemic, new information released by the Association Of Independent Festivals (AIF) suggests.

92% of AIF members have reported that their events businesses are "at risk" without sufficient government support. The same statement from the AIF says it's predicted that 90% of the UK's festivals will not take place in 2020 due to lockdown and social distancing measures.

The AIF also reports that independent festival firms have said the "effects of COVID-19 [will] likely result in businesses collapsing under refund requests" and says the UK's festival sector could be facing potential refunds of up to £800m in total this summer.

AIF members, the organisation's statement adds, "have average 'sunk costs' of £375,000 that are not recoupable," with many having already put funds into marketing for the upcoming summer festival season. 98.5% of members are also not covered by insurance for cancellation related to COVID-19, according to the AIF.

“While the government has been receptive to AIF's counsel, it has not taken meaningful action to protect our sector," the group's CEO, Paul Reed, said. "Single event festival companies are seasonal businesses.They need urgent support now and ongoing support after lockdown ends and restrictions are eased."

Reed adds that none of the AIF's members have been able to successfully access the government's Coronavirus Business Interruption Loans Scheme

"UK festivals are not only an intrinsic, defining part of British culture but also an economic powerhouse that generates hundreds of millions for the economy," he says. "Next year's festival season will hopefully offer much needed relief after a very difficult time for the country. But, for now, these independent businesses need to survive."

Read the AIF's full findings and recommendations on how the government can support the UK's independent festival sector here.