Festivals can apply for Arts fund and qualify for VAT reduction, confirms AFO

The Association of Festival Organisers (AFO) has worked hard, alongside other industry associations to get Government to confirm that festivals are “attractions” and, therefore, qualify for a 15 per cent reduction in VAT on sales of tickets.

Also the Department for Digital, Media, Culture and Sport (DCMS) has confirmed to the AFO that festivals can also apply (approx July 27) to Arts Council England (ACE) for funds from the £1.57 billion Arts and Heritage Fund.

However, in a statement, the AFO said that whilst the £1.57 billion figure may appear a lot, many organisations would be applying. The ACE will apply their own system and will assess each application, adhering to DCMS guidance.

The AFO continued: “The note of caution is ‘don’t expect HM Government to replace lost profit, don’t expect them to totally make up for having no festival this year’. They will, through ACE, consider applications for reasonable sums that can be shown to be necessary in order to keep festival organisations afloat until they can earn their keep next year.”

Any funds that are awarded will be issued as grants not loans. Festival organisers should be prepared to prove figures and expect to deliver a lot of information, and “silly” requests will be rejected at an early stage.

Organisers may need to prove their organisation is heading for insolvency and have exhausted all other means of funds to cover their shortfall.

Organisers should demonstrating a festival’s social and economic impact on the community and consider showing a contribution to education, diversity, equal opportunities, and the environment. Finally, if a festival believes that it has international impact, or a place in national or international tourism, it could help your case.

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