ACC’s Response: Urgent Call to Support UK Festival Sector

In light of recent developments surrounding festival cancellations across the UK, Access Creative College stands in solidarity with the live music sector and echoes the urgent call for government intervention to address the challenges facing festival organisers.

The cancellation of iconic festivals like Bluedot, Standon Calling, and Barn on the Farm, coupled with the permanent shutdown of NASS Festival, Leopallooza, and Long Division underscores the severity of the situation. The live music sector is facing unprecedented challenges, including the lingering effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, increasing supply chain costs, slower ticket sales, and the broader economic impact of the cost of living crisis.

John Rostron, CEO of the Association of Independent Festivals (AIF), rightly emphasises the critical juncture at which the UK festival sector finds itself – “The resilience demonstrated by festival promoters in navigating multiple crises over the past five years is commendable. However, the current challenges threaten the viability of festivals and jeopardise the vibrant cultural landscape they support.

Ian Johnson, Head of Industry Partnerships at Access Creative College, emphasises the importance of festivals, saying:

“Not only do festivals play a crucial part in people’s wellbeing as well as an economic and community boost for local areas,” Johnson says, “they also offer crucial work experience for our students. We have worked for years with festivals of all sizes to offer students performance opportunities, as well as behind-the-scenes career exposure. To not have this would be a real shame for the future workforce.”

As an institution deeply invested in nurturing emerging talent and supporting the creative industries, Access Creative College recognises the invaluable role that festivals play in providing opportunities for artists and industry professionals alike. Our longstanding partnerships with festivals such as Latitude, Love Saves the Day, and Wild Fields reflect our commitment to empowering students and connecting them with real-world experiences.

Through our initiatives with festivals like Forwards Festival and Love Saves The Day, our students gain hands-on experience in events management, artist liaison, and performance, preparing them for successful careers in the music industry. These collaborations not only benefit our students but also contribute to the continuation of the festival ecosystem and the broader creative economy.

We commend the 5% For Festivals campaign for its efforts to raise awareness about the challenges facing festival organisers and advocate for policy changes that support the sector. We urge festival-goers to join the campaign and engage with their local MPs to lobby for meaningful solutions, including VAT reduction and increased government support for festivals.

Access Creative College remains committed to supporting the UK festival sector and will continue to champion the importance of live music in our communities. Together with the wider industry, we will ensure that festivals thrive and continue to enrich our cultural landscape for generations to come.

Last updated on: 1st March 2024