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UK live music and festival sector at risk of collapse

The British independent festival sector is at risk of collapsing, with many cancelled events falling through the cracks of government support measures for businesses suffering as a result of the coronavirus crisis.

The Association of Independent Festivals (AIF), which represents 65 festivals in the UK, including Gloucestershire’s 2000trees, London’s Meltdown and Sheffield’s Tramlines, reports 92% of its members saying they face costs that could ruin their businesses as a result of cancelled events, with the vast majority (98.5%) not covered by insurance for cancellation related to Covid-19.

Costs include potential refunds of up to £800m for events that were due to take place this summer, and average non-recoupable costs of £375,000 per festival for overheads such as marketing, staffing and advertising.

A member survey has revealed that the sector could be facing redundancies of 59% on average and will lose more than half of its workforce between September 2020 and February 2021 without support.

AIF chief executive, Paul Reed, says that many independent festivals aren’t able to access funds through the government’s coronavirus business interruption loan scheme because they are unable to meet eligibility criteria, while the bounce-back loan scheme, capped at £50,000, doesn’t adequately cover what they need to stay afloat without income for this year.



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