The Association of Festival Organisers (AFO) has estimated the total damage caused to its members by cancellations and postponements surrounding Covid-19.

It estimates the damage at £111,616,000. The average size of an AFO festival is 3-5000 visitors, comprising an estimated 348,800 festival visits. This is multiplied by an average spend of £320 per head at each festival.

This figure only covers AFO members, a list of which can be viewed here. It does not cover all UK festivals. The figure was calculated as of 4 March, with several festivals yet to declare their plans.

Steve Heap, General Secretary of AFO, commented: “The virus has certainly taken its toll in 2020, with 87% of our member festivals cancelling and moving over to their 2021 dates.

“Of course there will be casualties both in festival terms and the enormous band of contractors and suppliers to this very busy seasonal industry. Government financial support in the main has not recognised the impact of a lost festival season on the communities in which they are held, nor the damage done to the charities which so many festivals support. This, quite apart from the livelihoods of mainly self-employed festival organisers and back up teams.

“For now, please support what is left of the current season and plan now by booking tickets for 2021. As a festival goer (you must be!) your support will be much appreciated as AFO festivals recover.”


Pictured: Bournemouth 7s festival, an AFO member, in 2019