Nick Morgan, CEO of production company We Are The Fair has called on suppliers to work more harmoniously with companies such as his own in order to help the independent festivals sector weather harsh market conditions.

Speaking at the National Outdoor Events Association’s annual convention yesterday, 24 November, Morgan called on suppliers to no longer demand 100% payments in advance, to provide more transparent costings and to stop leaving operators in the lurch by pulling out of projects at the last minute.

“There has been a lot of talk of building back better, but it feels like we aren’t doing that because of the many challenges we are facing, many of which are presented by the supply chain,” said Morgan.

He said that while the live events industry has many excellent suppliers, too many are profiteering and making life difficult for those producing and promoting independent festivals in challenging market conditions. He gave an example of a marquee company that had pulled out on the eve of an event, and another supplier who The Fair is taking legal action against as a result of them having delivered half an order despite having insisted on 100% payment in advance.

He said, “I realise there are challenges but cancelling hours before an event is not acceptable. At a huge cost we have had to replace that marquee company. I have had to absorb that cost as a company because I can’t pass it on to the promoter.

“It comes back to the crisis that we are all facing. Apart from one or two, none of our shows sold out this summer. It’s a really soft market at the moment, so promoters have been hugely challenged. Their margins are roughly 10% and that is based on the shows selling out. So if they don’t sell more than 90% of the tickets they are losing money, and trying to absorb a 20-30% increase in supply chain costs.

“The large corporates have very deep pockets, but independents are losing traction; they are losing shows. Just imagine a world where we don’t have independent festivals. It’s absolutely essential that we survive, and we will only survive in partnership – by working together.”