The UK’s Association Of Independent Festivals launched a campaign called '5% For Festivals' at its Festival Congress in Bristol yesterday, urgently calling for a reduction in VAT on festival tickets. This move comes in the wake of a growing crisis in the UK festival sector, with numerous events facing cancellation due to rising economic pressures.
John Rostron, CEO of AIF, underscored the severity of the situation, stating, "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”.
With AIF and other music industry groups having been calling for a cut to the VAT charged on tickets for some time, the new campaign aims to inform festival-goers about the challenges facing promoters and encourage them to lobby their MPs for a VAT reduction.
Rostron also highlighted the resilience of festival promoters, who have absorbed increased costs due to the pandemic, Brexit, inflation and the energy crisis, without raising ticket prices. However, this has led to financial losses and the risk of more festival cancellations.
He added, “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”.
The '5% For Festivals' campaign includes a dedicated website offering insights into the promoter's struggles and resources for festival-goers to support the VAT reduction initiative.