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Working for and with festivals and events, supporting live arts

Working for and with festival and events, supporting live arts:

AFO was started in 1987 when a group of festival organisers came together to exchange views and ideas. It was clear that supporting each other was a good way forward for the whole of the festival scene.

AFO is an independent organisation with an office in the East Midlands and a nationwide brief. 

We continue to develop and grow, providing support for our members and a voice for the festival and events industry to HM government, local authorities, UK live music industry, the industry press, radio and tv and much more.

Our Achievements:

  • Since 1987 the Association has grown from its small beginnings to now over 250 members (as of July 2022).

  • We have contributed to major changes in national licensing law (2003 Licensing Act).

  • Negotiating a new reduced % license deal for live performance with PRS for Music.

  • We maintain valuable contact with many other associations linked to our industry like MU, NCASS, PSA, AIF, LN, NAA, CPA and many more.

  • We currently hold the chair of The Events Industry Forum (EIF), a national and government recognised voice of the outdoor events industry.

  • We assisted in writing The Purple Guide and The Purple Guide Lite.

  • We are now leading a revision and update of the guide ready for 2023.

  • We have created a Code of Best Practice which we believe is a good set of guidance for festival organisers.

  • Forming and maintaining the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Events.

  • Supporting our members throughout the Covid Crisis (2020-20220).

  • During the Covid crisis we helped negotiate a reduction of VAT for tickets sales down to 5% and continue to lobby for an extension of a cultural VAT reduction through to 2023.

  • Working with LIVE (Live Music Industry Venues and Entertainment), we were able to lobby government for financial support which led to the contribution of over a billion pounds from the Cultural Recovery Fund to a wide variety of Arts organisations.

  • Works with UK Events to identify CIC and CIO codes for the Festival and Event Industry.

  • We assisted EIF in writing Covid Guidance for the Outdoor Events Industry and contributed to the supplementary work focussed on festivals.

  • We have worked with DCMS, EIF and Local Government Association (LGA) in producing guidance for local authorities to view festivals at safey advisory groups.

  • AFO has launched two new action groups. One aimed at guiding festivals and events in sustainability issues, (Climate Action Group) and one aimed at providing guidance on Equality, Diversity and Inclusion for festivals and events.

  • We hold regular online meetings for members and non members to offer support, guidance and a chance for discussion on any issues that are foremost during our planning cycles.

  • We are currently negotiating, alongside EIF, with the Local Government Association (LGA) and several other key partners to achieve consistency in Local Authority work with festivals and events.

  • Providing a 24/7 help line for members: we are here whenever needed.

  • And just simply being here for our members.

AFO is proud to be supported by