Consumers in the UK have seen a proliferation of music festivals that have given them remarkable choice of which rain-soaked, muddy fields to stand in for a weekend and listen to music. However, after this summer, that may all come crashing down. The Association of Independent Festivals (AIF), a UK body of independent festivals, has warned that 92% of AIF festivals could be on the brink of collapse because of the Coronavirus pandemic.
They predict that 90% of UK festivals will not take place this year. AIF members have average “sunk costs” of £375,000 that are not recoupable, with 98.5% not covered by insurance for cancellation related to Covid-19. Some of those sunk costs could be purchased equipment, permit fees, employee paychecks and more. The sector faces potential refunds of up to £800m in total this summer.
AIF is asking for government intervention to save the UK festival business. They also want clear guidance (something Boris Johnson has been criticized for not doing) on rules going forward so events can plan in the future.
“While the Government has been receptive to AIF’s counsel, it has not taken meaningful action to protect our sector. Single event festival companies are seasonal businesses. They need urgent support now and ongoing support after lockdown ends and restrictions are eased. 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,” AIF CEO Paul Reed said in a statement.
“There is no safety net for independent festivals, many of which have fallen between the cracks of current Government support measures such as loans and grants. For example, zero percent of AIF members have been able to successfully access the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loans Scheme.”
Hoping for any similar guidance from the United States federal government is a pipe dream. Getting that from all of the states is a fucking nightmare.