Search The AFO

Search for ...
News Stories
Web Pages
Library Resources
Festivals
Suppliers
Working for and with festivals and events, supporting live arts

The Coronavirus - COVID-19

AFO member festivals are run by a proud and dedicated bunch of organisers.  The COVID-19 pandemic pushed us all to the limit, but we will be back in 2021 so next season support your favourite festivals and maybe try a new one and offer help if you can.

Do be aware that the situation regarding the virus changes by the day, even after several months.  Keep up-to-date with AFO’s COVID news article as well as information on other informative sites and follow HM government guidance at GOV.UK

This is not a party-political issue, this is the human race and its social economic survival against the virus.

If you have major questions that are concerning your own business, festival, career, promotion, management or agency it is very likely that AFO has direct contact with someone who can advise, be it the Association or the government department.

AFO is available to channel correspondence where necessary.  This should not stop you and your organisation speaking directly to your own union or association or government department.  We will not always reply to you personally but can forward your question or concern to the right place.

AFO will not give direct advice on which you can act.  However, you may take the information or advice offered and use it if you wish by your own choice.

Together we shall win.  Keep safe and remember - it ain't over yet!

Steve Heap
General Secretary AFO and Chairman EIF

Beardy Folk Festival Under Covid restrictions

Beardy Folk Festival Under Covid restrictions

25th September 2020

Beardy Folk Festival (Sept 17th – 20th 2020) Under Covid restrictions – A brief report Introduction Beardy Folk Festival is situated near Cleobury Mortimer near Kidderminster.  The event was held in Hopton Court and the usual capacity of the festival is 5000.  However, for this year’s event tickets were limited to 750.  This was the only folk festival to att...

Read more
Rule of Six In Scotland And Wales

Rule of Six In Scotland And Wales

14th September 2020

For our members in Scotland and Wales THE RULE OF 6 has some variations. Wales and Scotland have now introduced their own rules for Six people gathering which differ from England, just to complicate things for everyone! Wales In Wales, the “rule of Six” will only apply to people meeting indoors and all six people must all belong to the same “extended household group&r...

Read more
FAQs - VAT reduced rate for hospitality, holiday accommodation & attractions

FAQs - VAT reduced rate for hospitality, holiday accommodation & attractions

11th September 2020

AFO was part of the UKMUSIC campaign to get a reduction in VAT on Tickets sales and the subsequent campaign to confirm Festivals were seen as attractions and so be included. The following information may answer some of the queries we have been receiving. Readers may also be interested to know that there is now a new campaign to have this VAT reduction period extended into , at best the next ...

Read more
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...

Read more
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...

Read more
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...

Read more
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...

Read more
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 ...

Read more
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...

Read more
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...

Read more
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, ...

Read more
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 ...

Read more
£1.57B of Investment to Protect Britain’s World Class Culture Arts and Heritage Institutions

£1.57B of Investment to Protect Britain’s 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...

Read more
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, ...

Read more
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 ...

Read more
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 ...

Read more
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!     ...

Read more
Can we say cheers to plant-based plastic yet?

Can we say cheers to plant-based plastic yet?

21st June 2020

The sustainability of our environment has not gone away during the COVID crisis.  Make sure you add sustainability on to your task list and budget for 2021. In the meantime take a look at this great article - Livvy Drake (Sustainable Sidekicks) guest blog on Vision:2025 discusses whether "We can say cheers to plant-based plastic yet?" Waste and plastics are one of Livvy’...

Read more
The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, consumer contracts, cancellation & refunds

The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, consumer contracts, cancellation & refunds

14th June 2020

There are a wide range of contracts that have been affected due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The following sets out the CMA’s general views about how the law operates in this area, to help consumers understand their rights and to help businesses treat their customers fairly. Read more HERE...

Read more
Why Cancelled Festivals Will Take Their Toll On Local Businesses

Why Cancelled Festivals Will Take Their Toll On Local Businesses

9th June 2020

Steve Heap, General Secretary of the Association of Festival Organisers (AFO), says the impact of cancelled festivals will be strongly felt by local businesses in a recent article published in Access All Areas The 2020 festival season has been wiped out. At the Association of Festival Organisers (AFO), 90 of our member festivals postponed to 2021, while 17 changed their 2020 date in the hope th...

Read more

AFO is proud to be supported by