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Latest News

Here are the latest news stories from the festival and event industry. Please also follow us on Facebook and Twitter. Have a news story to tell? Send it to [email protected] and do add us to your press list.

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Open Air Business Gathering 2021

Open Air Business Gathering 2021

11th September 2020

NEW DATES -  7 - 8 SEPTEMBER 2021 Our colleagues at Open Air Business have their annual "gathering". A very useful event for Festival and Events organisers. Full line up and speakers at www.oabgathering.com...

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Resilient festival organisers create new style events

Resilient festival organisers create new style events

26th August 2020

The Association of Festival Organisers has always known its members are dedicated and resilient, but according to Gen. Sec Steve Heap “we really did not expect so many events to resurface in 2020.” It was generally thought the festival season was wiped out with 95% of the usual festivals postponing to 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. By the time we got to June there were sounds...

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Important News Update For AFO Members

Important News Update For AFO Members

12th August 2020

We tried to get a consortium bid together for AFO members but I’m afraid that battle was lost. They out gunned us!! So take the advice and if £50k is too much go for a Project grant starting at £10k. See also Lucy Stones slides from her webinar on how to apply. Very useful info and all free to AFO members read on…………. We've had clarif...

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General Secretary Writes - August 2020

General Secretary Writes - August 2020

11th August 2020

I think I brought my diary up to date with you to somewhere in the middle of July. I can tell you now that on 19 July we had a meet with Simon Care to discuss a few things about how AFO was handling the Covid crisis.  We also had a moment to check out the Albion Christmas Tour which may or may not occur and the Towersey At Home Day on 29 August. 20 July - I was invited to appear on BBC ...

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Cultural Recovery Fund for Heritage

Cultural Recovery Fund for Heritage

7th August 2020

£50,000 Minimum Grants Application – unlikely, but there is an alternative.   The Heritage Lottery Fund has a Cultural Recovery Fund for Heritage which starts at around £10,000.  You may quality if your festival or event is in need of a small amount of funds to get you through.  It is more reading I am afraid and you need to visit www.heritagefund.org.uk/fund...

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Voluntary Arts - restarting voluntary arts activity across all artforms

Voluntary Arts - restarting voluntary arts activity across all artforms

6th August 2020

Restarting Voluntary Arts Activites Invitation: Monday 7 September 2020, 2pm - 4pm Following several months of restrictions due to the pandemic, some creative activities are permitted to resume as measures are eased. Voluntary Arts is inviting representatives from umbrella bodies and other networks involved in delivering participatory arts activities to join us for a special online discus...

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New Rules On Gatherings In Some Parts of Northern England

New Rules On Gatherings In Some Parts of Northern England

31st July 2020

We are sorry to hear this. I hope it doesn’t affect you too badly and will with luck and sensible people soon be reversed.   New rules on social gatherings will be introduced in Northern England to stop the spread of COVID-19. These changes will also apply in Leicester city. This will affect any events being planed in these areas.   This is in response...

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Steve Heap's article in the latest edition of Open Air Business

Steve Heap's article in the latest edition of Open Air Business

30th July 2020

Check out Steve Heap's article in the latest edition of Open Air Business     View Document ...

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Showmanís Show - A Year Off

Showmanís Show - A Year Off

30th July 2020

In mid-July, Johnny and Jeremy Lance announced a year off for the Showman’s Show. Readers will remember I always encourage festival organisers to visit the Showman’s Show, normally in October at Newbury Showground, simply because it is a great place to meet with colleagues, keep an eye out for new products available for festival organisers and get some of your infrastructure booked ...

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Key dates for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS)

Key dates for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS)

21st July 2020

Key dates for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS)  Submit your CJRS claim for periods ending on or before 30‌‌‌ ‌June 2020 by 31‌‌‌ ‌July 2020. This is the last date you can make those claims. You need to have made a claim at any point on or before 31‌‌‌ ‌July to be able to make a claim for future months. From 1‌...

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We seem to be making progress with Government!

We seem to be making progress with Government!

20th July 2020

After several weeks of discussions with government departments the live music world was very pleased to hear the Chancellor announce a £1.57Bn support package for Arts & Heritage.  This, alongside a drop of 15% in VAT on sales of tickets for attractions.  Yes, festivals are attractions. The latter is to run from 15 of July to 12 of January 2021.  It was an immediate boo...

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General Secretary Writes - The last few weeks

General Secretary Writes - The last few weeks

17th July 2020

There has been a great deal going on since I last summarised the work we do on your behalf and I would like to bring you up to speed.  Some of this is included in emails sent out to members and other parts you will find in detail in the NEWS section on the AFO website https://www.festivalorganisers.org/news I can tell you that on 6 July I represented AFO in the EIF Board meeting to l...

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Steve Heap's Interview On Sustainability

Steve Heap's Interview On Sustainability

15th July 2020

How has Covid-19 affected sustainability at events in your view? With the devastating effect of COVID-19 destroying the 2020 festival season it does give organisers an opportunity to reflect on how they will recover in 2021, and at the same time re-think our sustainability policies.  ‘The world will never be the same again’ is a phrase I hear often describing this crisis, ...

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Facts, figures, and information needed for DCMS

Facts, figures, and information needed for DCMS

9th July 2020

AFO has been given a strong indication from DCMS that government are very interested in supporting the festival sector.  To provide the facts, figures, and information they need, we need you, the festival organisers to move VERY QUICKLY. We have teamed up with AIF to jointly pull together this information for the benefit of festivals of all types. The information requested here is ...

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£1.57B of Investment to Protect Britainís World Class Culture Arts and Heritage Institutions

£1.57B of Investment to Protect Britainís World Class Culture Arts and Heritage Institutions

8th July 2020

"£1.57B of Investment to Protect Britain’s World Class Culture Arts and Heritage Institutions" That was the heading on the government's press release of 5 July.  Here at AFO we were delighted. However, on closer inspection they tell us that a good proportion of this package will be in the form of loans with about £880M being handed out in grants. For m...

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House of Commons Debate

House of Commons Debate

6th July 2020

The Question on the Order Paper was ‘Would the House Consider the E Petitions for Support for the Events Industry’?  Teresa Villiers MP (see on BBC iPlayer). On 30 June and 1 July at last festivals are mentioned in the House of Commons.  A Tory MP believed that the West End theatres in London should open as soon as possible.  The Prime Minister supported his idea, ...

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General Secretary Writes - Life during lockdown

General Secretary Writes - Life during lockdown

4th July 2020

Hello Members and others, I hope this finds you safe and well. Since I last wrote my diary it has been a very busy period, even though locked up in the house and garden.  As I write I believe we could be entering week fifteen here. 18 May - I spoke via Zoom link to students of Event Management at Derby University. 19 May - Chaired our first EIF online meeting (go to meetings) where w...

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The Government has today introduced its new Planning and Business Bill

The Government has today introduced its new Planning and Business Bill

25th June 2020

The Government has today introduced its new Planning and Business Bill as part of its plan to help support high street businesses. The bill, which only applies to England, will relax licencing laws and enable businesses to provide more outdoor seating and services. At the same time, the Government is introducing changes which will remove the need for planning applications for outdoor ...

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DCMS Covid-19 Survey Results

DCMS Covid-19 Survey Results

25th June 2020

In a survey carried out through the middle of the COVID-19 crisis DCMS had 3,936 responses between mid-April and mid-May. In order to narrow down the groupings festivals and events went into a section known as Events and Exhibitions, the results of which are revealing and useful. Question 1 asked whether in the next three months your organisation was financially resilient. 357 said yes, it ...

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Steve Brine Requests The PM to Speak To DCMS This Summer

Steve Brine Requests The PM to Speak To DCMS This Summer

23rd June 2020

Great to see that Steve Brine MP requested that the PM speak to the DCMS this summer. The AFO immediately contacted Steve and is now sending over statistics/information that will help him convince the treasury that finance support is needed for our sector.   We will keep you updated!     ...

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