More than 40 UK festivals have been cancelled this summer


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A new report published by the Association of Independent Festivals (AIF) has found 40 festivals in the UK have been cancelled this summer, with some permanently bringing the event to an end with no future editions planned.

The AIF shared the findings on its Five Percent For Festivals website, a campaign it has launched calling for the government to reduce VAT on festivals from 20% to 5% to prevent festivals from postponing, cancelling or shutting down altogether.

According to the AIF: “Lowering VAT will save festivals from closure, and give all UK festivals the space they need in order to recover from a series of pressing problems caused by Brexit and hangover from the pandemic. Without intervention more festivals will cancel, postpone or make 2024 their last edition.”

The organisation estimates around 17% of festivals did not survive the pandemic, with NME reporting that more than 170 have disappeared across the past five years.

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The news of El Dorado’s cancellation this week marked 40 festivals announcing cancellation, while this morning (May 24) Twisted Festival, a three-day camping festival near Leicester, also announced it will not be taking place this year, and is postponing to 2025.

In a statement shared on Instagram, Twisted wrote: “We can’t tell you how devastated we are to not be able to deliver to you this year. We feel so lucky to have such a caring and kind audience and it breaks our heart to not be able to be dancing in the field together this summer.

“We want to reassure you that we’re not going anywhere and still are just as passionate and motivated to come back stronger next year, with many parties in-between. Our belief that the UK needs more intimate and caring spaces for electronic music is not wavering. We’re going to take this time to look back at our values and think how we can improve and grow.”

Read this next: How The Cost Of Living Crisis Is Impacting Festivals

Other events include Riverside Festival, Standon Calling and NASS Festival, with various reasons cited “rise in supply chain costs”, “tender and procurement issues”, “challenges of running an independent festival”, and “lower-than-expected sales and increased infrastructure, staff, transport and artist costs”.

The AIF has warned this trend will continue to escalate without government support, predicting more than 100 UK festivals will disappear in 2024.

Find the AIF’s list of cancelled festivals here.

Learn how you can help the Five Percent For Festivals campaign here.

Last year in our Cost Of Living Crisis editorial series, Isaac Muk investigated how soaring costs and changing consumer habits are afflicting the UK scene. Read it here.

Patrick Hinton is Mixmag’s Editor & Digital Director, follow him on Twitter

Written by: Tim Hopkins

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