May 24, 2024 1 min read

100 festivals will close without VAT cut warns AIF

The Association Of Independent Festivals has again called for the UK government to cut VAT on tickets from 20% to 5%. The trade group says that 40 festivals have now postponed, cancelled or closed down in 2024, and a total of 100 events could disappear this year without the VAT cut

100 festivals will close without VAT cut warns AIF

The UK’s Association Of Independent Festivals is now predicting that over 100 festivals will disappear this year unless the government introduces additional support via VAT relief.

The trade body made that prediction yesterday as the number of UK events to postpone, cancel or close down this year reached 40. 

The latest to cancel is the El Dorado Festival in Herefordshire. It announced its cancellation earlier this week citing “a dramatic rise in operational costs… compounded by the impact of the increased cost of living on the festival industry and our community”.

AIF has repeatedly called on the UK government to cut the VAT on tickets from 20% to 5% in order to provide a buffer for festival promoters who have been dealing with surging production costs and the cost of living crisis ever since the end of the COVID lockdowns.

In a new statement yesterday, AIF said, “With 96 events lost to COVID, 36 in 2023 and 40 to date in 2024, the total number of UK festivals to have disappeared since 2019 is 172. 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”.

The organisation’s CEO John Rostron added: “We are witnessing the steady erosion of one of the UK’s most successful and culturally significant industries not because of a lack of demand from the public but because of unpredictable, unsustainable supply chain costs and market fluctuations”.

Repeating AIF’s request for government support, he continued, “In asking for a temporary reduction in VAT related to ticket sales, we have provided government with a considered, targeted and sensible solution, which would save this important sector. We need action now”.

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