Bingley Weekender festivals

Two more festivals cancel – AIF warns that festival landscape could change without intervention

The Association of Independent Festival (AIF) is warning that more than 100 of the UK’s festivals could disappear in 2024 without intervention and Government support.

Bradford Council alongside the Bradford and Bingley Rugby Club have made the decision not to hold Bingley Weekender this year and Nibley Festival, which takes place in the Cotswolds, has also announced its cancellation.

Councillors in Bradford have asked whether Bingley Weekender will return in 2025, as part of the city’s City of Culture programme.

The promoters of Bingley Weekender and Nibley Festival have both cited rapidly rising production costs as the reason why running their events is no longer viable.

The timing of this milestone suggests that the number of festival cancellations this year will far outstrip 2023, when a total 36 festivals cancelled before they were due to take place, according to the AIF.

Without intervention, it’s expected that the UK could see more than 100 festivals disappear from the events landscape.

At the start of February, the AIF launched a campaign for a VAT reduction on festival tickets that would save many event promoters from closure.

The Five Per Cent 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.

Temporary support from the UK Government – lowering VAT from 20 per cent to five cent on ticket sales for the next three years – is all that’s needed to give festival promoters the space they need to rebuild.

John Rostron, CEO of the AIF, said: “It’s with grave concern that we again sound the alarm to Government upon passing this critical milestone. UK festivals are disappearing at a worrying rate, and we as a nation are witnessing the erosion of one of our most successful and unique cultural industry sectors. We have done the research: a reduction of VAT to five per cent on festival tickets over the next three years is a conservative, targeted and temporary measure that would save almost all of the festival businesses that are likely to fall by the wayside this year and many more over the years to come. We need this intervention now.”

Image credit: Bingley Weekender