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Northwich’s Geronimo Festival has announced the cancellation of this year’s event, bringing the total number of UK festivals to have announced a postponement, cancellation or closure in 2024 to 50, according to the Association of Independent Festivals (AIF).

AIF said that without intervention, it expects the UK to see more than 100 festivals disappear in 2024 due to the pressures of unpredictable and rising costs.

It said, “With 96 events lost to Covid, 36 in 2023 and 50 to date in 2024, the total number of UK festivals to have disappeared since 2019 is 182. Without having had successive steady seasons since the pandemic in which to recover, the country’s festivals are under more financial strain than ever.”

Among the events AIF highlighted as having been subject to some form of recent cancellation were NASS Festival, Leopollooza, Bluedot (pictured) and Barn On The Farm while Nozstock The Hidden Valley will make the 2024 edition its last. Towersey, the UK’s longest running independent festival, is also making the 2024 edition its last.

In February, the AIF launched a campaign asking for a temporary VAT reduction on festival tickets that would save many event promoters from closing their events.

The 5% For Festivals campaign is an awareness strategy that seeks to inform festival-goers about the problems that music festival promoters have faced over the last five years, encouraging them to contact their MPs to lobby for a much needed VAT reduction on tickets. That campaign is paused whilst the country prepares to elect a new Government.

AIF said temporary support from the UK Government – lowering VAT from 20% to 5% on ticket sales for the next three years – is what is needed to give festival promoters the space they need to rebuild.

AIF CEO John Rostron said, “This is a regrettable landmark for the UK’s festival sector. This is the most challenging time for independent festivals who desperately need an intervention from the incoming government before more events inevitably fall. Our research suggests around 100 festivals will throw in the towel before the year is out, and more will go into 2025 at risk if there is not the temporary fiscal support they need.”