The AIF Launches vital 5% for festivals scheme to save the UK festival scene.

The Association of Independent Festivals (AIF) has launched a vital campaign aimed at securing a much-needed VAT reduction on festival tickets to safeguard the future of the UK’s vibrant festival scene. In the UK, many feel we have a strong and ever growing music festival scene – but the independent sector of this world-leading industry still suffers due to issues around Covid and Brexit, making maintaining a UK festival even more difficult than ever.

The AIF needs UK citizens, to write to their MP.. Asking to support the 5% VAT for festivals scheme.

The 5% For Festivals campaign, unveiled at the AIF’s Festival Congress, seeks to address the pressing financial challenges facing festival promoters, which have been exacerbated by the impact of the pandemic, Brexit, inflation, and geopolitical tensions. With at least 36 festivals cancelled in 2023 and six already facing closure in 2024, urgent action is needed to prevent further devastating losses.

The campaign calls on festival-goers to support the cause by contacting their MPs and advocating for a reduction in VAT on ticket sales from 20% to 5% for the next three years. This temporary measure, proposed by the UK Government, would provide much-needed relief to promoters, allowing them the breathing room to rebuild and recover from the unprecedented challenges they’ve faced in recent years.

As the voice of 101 UK music festivals, representing over 53% of all festivals in the UK with capacities of 5,000+, AIF is leading the charge to secure a sustainable future for the festival landscape. AIF’s CEO, John Rostron, emphasizes the critical juncture the festival sector finds itself in, highlighting the resilience and passion of promoters who have weathered multiple crises without passing the burden onto consumers.

AIF CEO John Rostron said: “We really are at a critical point for the UK’s festival sector. Five years ago, it would have been impossible to imagine that promoters would have to endure something as damaging as the Covid-19 pandemic – but many of them did, without passing the inevitable cost onto the consumer. To think that, since then, they have had to manage the effects of Brexit, war in Ukraine, inflation and an energy crisis is staggering. That festival-goers were able to enjoy some of the fantastic events they did in 2023 is testament to the resilience and passion of those promoters. But we lost 36 festivals last year, and with six festivals having postponed activity in 2024 or closed the gates for good, we are on track to see well over double the number of casualties this year.

“UK festivals need time to recover and rebuild. They need help from our Government. A reduction in VAT on festival tickets from 20% to 5% for three years is an evidence-based, simple, sensible remedy that would ease the financial burden on promoters enough for them to return to health. We need this action now.”

You can find out more about this scheme here