The Government this week pledged a £1.57bn support package to save the arts industry, including theatres, music venues, independent cinemas and art galleries.
Whilst the news has been welcomed by the sector as a whole, The Association of Independent Festivals (AIF) is asking for clarity on whether the festival sector will receive any of the emergency grants.
AIF estimates that UK festivals have lost an average of £375,000 per event due to the coronavirus pandemic, and independent businesses and contractors working within the sector face losing an entire year’s income as a result. The AIF is calling on government to do more to help the struggling festival sector and ensure that event organisers have the best chance possible to make it through to the 2021 season. Redundancies of 59% are expected across the sector without urgent Government intervention.
AIF CEO Paul Reed said: “The time for lip service is over. 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.”
Festivals support an estimated £1.75bn in gross value added to the UK economy, and support 85,000 jobs across the country. Reed said: “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.”