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PM Gives The Tinest Glimmer

On 22 February, the Prime Minister set out his road map for ending the lockdown.

Of course, he didn’t say that festivals and big events could start again, but there was the tiniest glimmer of hope in his statement.

He made quick reference to events but said the word “testing “on several occasions. The festival industry as we know it cannot handle testing at the gate of the event. That would cause chaos and local concerns. Testing in advance of either ticket purchase or arrival at the site leads directly to a vaccine / health passport which the PM has rejected on many occasions. AFO would welcome a U-turn and the introduction of a clear proof of vaccination and/or negative test.

The PM did not give us a start date which is no surprise as he was always going to focus on science advice and the data but there were hints and pointers towards the opening of sport and events that could include festivals in the latter parts of summer.

For now, we will be continuing the drive to get support for the festival industry. AFO has joined with many others in the festival and music world to demand that the reduction to 5% for VAT on ticket sales be extended to at least the end of 2021 and preferably for a three-season period.

In addition, we ask that the Chancellor looks very closely at the number of event industry workers that have had no pay whatsoever for the last twelve months, and considers continuing furlough making a cash support fund available to roadies, techies, lampies etc. throughout our festival industry.

And thirdly, that a decision is made by the end of March to financially underwrite an insurance scheme against pandemic losses, giving the festival industry the opportunity to reopen knowing that, should a bad situation arise again, we will have some funding from an insurance scheme in support of our £40bn industry with its 85,000 jobs

Association of Festival Organisers (AFO): 22nd Feb 2021 18:47:00

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