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AFO Insists Government Help With The Reopening Of Festivals


The Association of Festival Organisers (AFO) has worked tirelessly for the last 18 months through the Covid crisis to try and save, not only festivals within its own membership, but as part of a wider team doing its very best to save the UK’s brilliant events industry from collapse.


We have now arrived at a point after the PM’s announcement on 14 June where we have to make some demands. The following is what is now needed:

  1. AFO insists that HM Government recognise that not all festivals (in fact most) are not 20,000 young people dancing.  They are often made up of family groups, sometimes even middle-aged audiences, not always dancing but often seated and should not be regarded as rock and pop for young people
  2. In order to assist our festivals in surviving to return to their profitable winning ways of the past AFO demands that government cancel re the introduction of business rates from July 1st and extend 100% rate relief until 31 March 2022. 
  3. AFO demands that government extend the bounce-back loans and CBIL interest and payment-free period until 30 September.
  4. AFO requests that the government immediately release funds held for Cultural Recovery Fund 3.  We understand £300m is available and waiting.  In addition, the government must ensure that the opening sum for applications is low enough and achievable for grass roots events and festivals, and that they also insist that the Arts Council release without further delay the grants made and promised in CRF1 and 2.
  5. We would very much appreciate government assistance in working with us to encourage local authorities to recognise and use the national guidelines for safe events and work towards consistency throughout the UK.
  6. Government must instruct local authorities to release undistributed restart grant money of at least £1.6bn earmarked for cultural premises, grass roots music venues and festivals without delay.
  7. And finally, government really must recognise that without an insurance underwriting the events industry cannot restart.  So, we would ask that government immediately put in place an underwriting insurance scheme for pandemic related cancellation.

Association of Festival Organisers (AFO): 21st Jun 2021 16:23:00

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