AIF First Festival Campaign

AIF launches First Festival Campaign, giving young people access to their first festival experience

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The Association of Independent Festivals has launched a pioneering campaign and fund that will enable access to festivals for hundreds of thousands of people aged 18+ across the UK. The First Festival Campaign has been built on the belief that, upon turning 18, everyone should be able to access the pivotal cultural moment that festivals provide. But, in recent years, many have not had that opportunity.

COVID-19 saw most people who were turning 18 at the time miss out on their first festival experience due to lockdown.

Even in 2022, lots of festivals rolled tickets over from 2019, meaning that hundreds of thousands of young people missed out on this key moment again.

Still today, the cost of living crisis has made attending festivals out of reach for many people.

The First Festival Campaign means that anyone in the UK who was/is 18 years of age between September 1, 2019 and August 31, 2023 can register interest in attending one of AIF’s member festivals via the First Festival website.

Meanwhile, individuals and organisations are able to make donations to this campaign here. Tickets will be released as funding targets are met, with eligible 18-year-olds on the waiting list able to buy a ticket for their chosen festival for just £18.

In launching this campaign, AIF has also taken inspiration from European countries such as Germany, France and Italy where those turning 18 are given a voucher by their government with a value of between €200 and €500 to be spent on cultural events and activities.

Festivals that have already signed up to the new AIF initiative include: 110 Above Presents: OTHR Festival; Above and Beyond Brighton Beach; Belladrum Tartan Heart Festival; BlueDot; British Country Music Festival; Camp Wildfire Festival; Chase and Status Brighton Beach; Deva Fest; El Dorado; End of The Road Festival; Green Belt; Green Gathering; Kendal Calling; NASS Festival; Noisily; Nozstock: The Hidden Valley; PennFest; Readipop Festival; Rock Oyster; Shambala; Takedown Festival; UK Tech-Fest; Underneath The Stars Festival; Valley Fest; and We Out Here.

John Rostron, CEO of AIF CEO, said: “I was speaking to some students recently who are set to graduate this year, and it became apparent that none of them had ever attended a festival. It really hit me just what an impact Covid had on their lives. So we decided to do something about it. Everyone should have a first festival experience, and it should be a thrilling and vital part of every person’s journey into adulthood. So many of us have wonderful festival memories to share, and brilliant festival stories to tell. We’re hoping that there’ll be individuals and organisations who are able to spare some money to put into the fund to help people attend their first festivals this year.”

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