AIF launches All-Party Parliamentary Group for independent festivals

18 Sep 2023

Chaired by Giles Watling MP, the APPG will look into environmental impacts and solutions; women’s safety; crime and drug use; and touring visas for musicians.

The Association of Independent Festivals (AIF) has set up an All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for festivals.

The APPG has been set up to represent independent festivals, looking at the unique value they bring and the pressures that they face. It will include conversations with the suppliers who work with the festival sector, and the landowners who support festivals across the UK.

During its first year, the APPG will look into various topics and issues the sector has faced in recent years. Initially, these topics will include: environmental impacts and solutions; women’s safety; crime and drug use; and touring visas for musicians. 

To begin, with this year’s main festival season now coming to a close, the APPG will also look into the challenges that the sector has faced, and reflect on any solutions that may help toward next year’s season.

The initial APPG members include Chair Giles Watling MP (Conservative) and Vice Chairs Kevin Brennan MP (Labour), Alex Davies Jones MP (Labour), Pete Wishart MP (SNP), Rt Hon Damian Green MP (Conservative), Rt Hon Karen Bradley MP (Conservative), and Mark Fletcher MP (Conservative).

Secretariat services will be provided by political consultancy Pepper Shackleton Wellard (PSW), which will organise the APPG events, as well as co-ordinating with supporters and officers to ensure smooth running.

AIF is also in conversation with the British Arts Festivals Association (BAFA), the leading network and development agency for UK arts festivals and AFO (Association of Festival Organisers) to support the APPG.

John Rostron, Chief Executive Officer of the AIF said “It’s been a very busy summer this year and I’ve met with a number of MPs as I’ve visited festivals across the UK. Whether they are attending and supporting festivals in their constituency, speaking at events, or enjoying festivals for fun, we’ve had some great conversations about the importance and vibrancy of the independent festival sector, as well as the challenges that festivals are currently facing. The Festivals APPG will enable us to carry these conversations into Westminster and enable dialogue between MPs and festivals all year round.”

Giles Watling MP said: “I am delighted and honoured to be elected as Chairman of the APPG for Festivals. Globally, Britain leads the way in celebrating humanity through festivals, as people come together to enjoy their passions. This APPG will be open to any and all forms of festival, from rock and pop to classical to literary. There are wellness festivals, food festivals, and so many more – it will be a privilege to represent all of them and highlight their importance to Britain’s cultural offer.”

Registered Contact:

Giles Watling MP, House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA.


Public Enquiry Point:

Megan Williams, Pepper Shackleton Wellard



Pepper Shackleton Wellard acts as the group’s secretariat.