UK outdoor festival and event sector warns of permanent closure

The UK’s festival and events industry is in danger of being wiped out permanently according to research from the National Outdoor Events Association (NOEA).

In their latest survey, NOEA reports that 84 per cent of all organisers have seen their entire events program wiped out for 2020 due to the impact of Covid-19 on the sector’s peak summer months.

The shutdown of these businesses could permanently change the shape of the festival and event industry and lead to the closure of some of the most recognised festival, sporting, cultural and event brands in the UK, according to NOEA.

More than 141.5 million people attend UK events annually with the outdoor event and festival market contributing over £30.4 billion to UK economy.

The average loss to event businesses is £539,431 (AU$978,000) with over half suffering losses of £100,000 (AU$181,000) or more, according to the research.

The sector also employs over 589,000 people, many within small SME companies or as freelancers with historically low margins. Three quarters of the companies surveyed have taken advantage of the staff furlough scheme, but over 65 per cent are planning redundancies.

In addition, more than half (51 per cent) have said that without further support they will not make it to the end of the year. Of those surveyed, 65 per cent only have liquidity for six months or less and 41 per cent only have enough for the next three months. However, whilst 65 per cent of those surveyed have already applied for government grants 80 per cent have yet to receive anything.