The announcement about which event operators are to benefit from the Government’s £1.57bn Cultural Recovery Fund (CRF) will not be made until 12 October, it was due to be made today, 5 October.
Within the CRF a £500m fund, overseen by Arts Council England (ACE), is to be distributed to cultural organisations across England, with grants ranging between £50,000 and £3m. The Association of Independent Festivals (AIF) established that festivals are eligible for the grants, and subsequently many of its members applied.
AIF CEO Paul Reed told Access he was deeply disappointed with the delay: “The independent festival sector is in urgent and desperate need of support and many have already waited months for the outcome of grant applications.
“Festivals have lost an average of £375,000 in non-recoupable sunk costs and, according to our most recent survey, 50.5% of the workforce are facing redundancy. Livelihoods are on the line and, while fully recognising and appreciating the efforts of DCMS and Arts Council England with the Cultural Recovery Fund, this delay further exacerbates unbearable uncertainty about the future of the festival businesses, which generate £1.75bn GVA for the UK economy and support 85,000 jobs.”
In a statement ACE said, “We understand this is an anxious time for many people and many organisations up and down the country.
“We apologise that there is a week’s delay in letting the first tranche of grants applicants know decisions, but we will still be able to get money to them this month.
“Given the volume and complexity of the applications that came through to this brand new fund, we’ve had to do additional due diligence to make sure money from the public purse is spent responsibly.
“We are working hard to get this much-needed funding out as quickly as possible, to those who need it most.”