Organisers of the Beat-Herder festival, which is due to take place on 18-21 July, will reduce the capacity of the event this year due to difficult market conditions.

In a statement, the festival’s promoters said, “The savage economic realities have put us in a bit of a pickle. We could call a fallow year and come back swinging into 2025, it’s the risk-free option that’d allow us to sleep at night but sleeping at night is not what we’re about.”

The news comes barely a week after the event was crowned festival of the year at the Nordoff and Robbins Northern Music Awards.

Launched in 2006 by Jamie Foxon and Nick Chambers, the independent Lancashire festival has since grown tenfold from having an attendance of 1,200 to a multi-stage 12,000-capacity event that has attracted acts including Death In Vegas, Goldie, Roni Size and Jake Bugg. Headliners this year include Orbital and Leftfield.

While the announcement does not specify how sharply the festival’s size will be reduced, it suggests this year’s event will be a ‘bijou Beat-Herder’ on a scale reminiscent of the early days. The festival’s organisers promised the advertised lineup will remain and so will “most of the venues”.

More than 35 festivals have now been called off this year, including  NASS (cap. 30,000), Bluedot (21,000), Standon Calling (cap. 17,000), and Connect (15,000), while new launches have struggled to get off the ground.

The Association of Independent Festivals (AIF) is calling on Government to reduce the VAT rate on festival tickets to 5% to help avoid further closures. While festival production company The Fair has launched a campaign celebrating the value of festivals, in a bid to gather support for independent events.

AIF CEO John Rostron said, “The move by Beat-Herder is an assuringly pragmatic and positive one from the organisers. They want to deliver the best festival to their audience and this is the way they can do that. It demonstrates the resilience and heart that characterises the independent festival sector in these most challenging of times.”