The Association Of Independent Festivals has announced the launch of a new All-Party Parliamentary Group which will be focused on festivals.
APPGs are informal cross-party groups within the UK Parliament which bring together MPs who have a common interest. They can play a useful role in lobbying because they provide a forum where relevant industries or campaigners can speak to politicians who they know are interested in their work or campaigns.
The new festival-focused APPG will consider the contribution made by all kinds of festivals and the pressures that they face, with specific topics likely to be discussed including environmental impacts and solutions; women’s safety at events; crime and drug use; and touring visas for musicians.
As well as talking to festival promoters, the APPG's members are expected to liaise with those supplying services to festivals and the landlords who own the sites that festivals use.
Initial members include Chair Giles Watling and Vice Chairs Kevin Brennan, Alex Davies-Jones, Pete Wishart, Damian Green, Karen Bradley and Mark Fletcher. The work of the group will be supported by political consultancy Pepper Shackleton Wellard.
Says Watling: “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".
Welcoming the new APPG, AIF CEO John Rostron adds: “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", he goes on, "and enable dialogue between MPs and festivals all year round”.