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El Dorado becomes latest festival casualty

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Herefordshire’s El Dorado Festival has revealed its cancellation citing “a dramatic rise in operational costs compounded by the impact of the increased cost of living on the festival industry and our community”.

In a statement, the festival team said: “The last thing we want to do is to deliver a festival that cuts corners and does not live up to what you have come to expect from El Dorado. We have, therefore, been left with no choice but to cancel this summer’s event and look ahead to 2025.”

Without intervention, it’s expected that the UK will see more than 100 festivals disappear in 2024 due to unpredicatable rising costs.

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.

At the start of February, the AIF launched a campaign asking for a temporary 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 festivalgoers 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.

John Rostron, CEO of AIF, said: “The speed of festival casualties in 2024 shows no sign of slowing. 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. 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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