Independent UK festivals on brink of 'collapse' from coronavirus pandemic

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  • 92 percent of Association Of Independent Festivals members report their events businesses will likely not survive without sufficient government relief.
  • Independent UK festivals on brink of 'collapse' from coronavirus pandemic image
  • Most of the UK's independent festivals say they are in danger of ruin. A new statement from the UK-based Association Of Independent Festivals (AIF) says 92 percent of its members report their events businesses are "at risk" without sufficient government support. With an estimated "90 percent of all UK festivals" not taking place in 2020, independent festival firms say the "effects of COVID-19 [will] likely result in businesses collapsing under refund requests." AIF also says that due to the shuttered 2020 festival season, its members have an average of £375,000 in un-recoupable "sunk costs," with 98.5 percent of the independent festivals not covered for COVID-19-related cancellations by insurance. Among AIF's list of recommendations for the government are: extending staff and self-employed furlough schemes, plus a "business support package" to help festivals recover for potential 2021 editions; more "clear guidance" on when exactly festivals may be able to return and with what restrictions (the UK's multi-step lockdown-easing plan does not mention festivals—read more about that and other countries' plans here); and rolling over events permits to 2021. "While the government has been receptive to AIF's counsel, it has not taken meaningful action to protect our sector," AIF CEO Paul Reed says. "This is not a temporary shutdown of business—it is an entire year of income and trade wiped out. If support is not offered throughout the autumn, then the sector will face widespread job losses that will seriously inhibit its ability to deliver events in 2021." To learn about more ways to support the independent music industry, see our guide collecting various resources and initiatives here. Photo credit: Boomtown