AIF UK: Festival Cancellations Pass 20 Milestone

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Scene from Nibley Festival 2022. The festival, which takes place in the scenic Cotswolds, England, has announced that this year’s edition will be its last. (Credit: Beth Goodchild/Beth Films/Nibley Festival)

According to the UK’s Association of Independent Festivals (AIF), “21 UK festivals have now announced a postponement, cancellation or complete closure in 2024.”

Most recently, Nibley Festival in the Cotswolds has announced that this year’s event will be its last, followed Bingley Festival in Bradford, which won’t even see its 2024 2024 edition go ahead.

They follow NASS Festival, Leopollooza, and Long Division, which all called time after their 2023 editions, as well as Bluedot, and Barn On The Farm, which will not be taking place this year, but hope to return in 2025. Nozstock The Hidden Valley has also already announced that its 2024 edition will be its last.

See: NASS & Nozstock Highlight The Pressure On UK Festivals

Promoters of Nibley and Bingley Festivals have cited “rapidly rising production costs as the reason why running their event is no longer viable,” according to AIF.

According to the AIF, the sad milestone of 21 cancellations this early in the year “suggests that the number of festival cancellations this year will far outstrip 2023, when a total 36 festivals cancelled before they were due to take place. Without intervention, it’s expected that the UK could see over 100 festivals disappear in 2024 due to rising costs.”

The UK’s festival operators haven’t had one single steady season since the COVID lockdowns, which has made it impossible to recover. The country’s festivals are under more financial strain than ever, and the independents feel it the hardest.

The AIF launched a new campaign for a VAT reduction on festival tickets in February that would save many event promoters from closure.

Temporary support from the UK Government – lowering VAT from 20% to 5% on ticket sales for the next three years – would be enough to give festival promoters the space they need to rebuild.

Untenably High Supply Chain Costs: UK’s AIF Publishes Festival Forecast

AIF CEO John Rostron commented, “It’s with grave concern that we again sound the alarm to Government upon passing this critical milestone. UK festivals are disappearing at a worrying rate, and we as a nation are witnessing the erosion of one of our most successful and unique cultural industry sectors. We have done the research: a reduction of VAT to 5% on festival tickets over the next three years is a conservative, targeted and temporary measure that would save almost all of the festival businesses that are likely to fall by the wayside this year and many more over the years to come. We need this intervention now.”

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