UK festival cancellations pass 20 milestone

13 Mar 2024

Over 100 of the nation’s festivals could disappear in 2024 without intervention.

21 UK festivals have now announced a postponement, cancellation or complete closure in 2024.

Cotswolds-based Nibley Festival has announced that this year’s event will be its last, soon after Bradford’s Bingley Festival announced that its 2024 edition will not go ahead.

Promoters of both festivals have cited rapidly rising production costs as the reason why running their event is no longer viable.

The timing of this milestone suggests that the number of festival cancellations this year will far outstrip 2023, when a total 36 festivals cancelled before they were due to take place, according to research from the Association of Independent Festivals.

Without intervention, it’s expected that the UK could see over 100 festivals disappear in 2024 due to rising costs.

Without having had a single steady season since the pandemic in which to recover, the country’s festivals are under more financial strain than ever.

At the start of February, The AIF launched a new campaign for a VAT reduction on festival tickets that would save many event promoters from closure.

The 5% For Festivals campaign is an awareness campaign that seeks to inform festival-goers about the problems that music festival promoters have faced over the last five years, encouraging them to contact their MPs to lobby for a much needed VAT reduction on tickets.

Temporary support from the UK Government – lowering VAT from 20% to 5% on ticket sales for the next three years – is all that’s needed to give festival promoters the space they need to rebuild.

AIF CEO John Rostron said: “It’s with grave concern that we again sound the alarm to Government upon passing this critical milestone. UK festivals are disappearing at a worrying rate, and we as a nation are witnessing the erosion of one of our most successful and unique cultural industry sectors. We have done the research: a reduction of VAT to 5% on festival tickets over the next three years is a conservative, targeted and temporary measure that would save almost all of the festival businesses that are likely to fall by the wayside this year and many more over the years to come. We need this intervention now.”