DCMS launches inquiry into future of UK music festivals

The Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee has launched a new inquiry into the future of music festivals in the UK.

The COVID-19 outbreak has forced the vast majority of festivals to cancel this year, with revenues plummeting by 90 per cent. In 2018, 4.9 million people were reported to have attended a UK music festival, with the sector estimated to have generated £1.76 billion in GVA last year.

The inquiry will consider government policy to support music festivals scheduled for 2021 and consider the economic and cultural contribution that music festivals make to the UK.

DCMS Committee Chair Julian Knight MP said: “The collapse of the vibrant music festival sector this year is a real cause for concern. The majority of festivals have been cancelled with the money they generate down by 90% and real risks surrounding their future viability.

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“We have so many legendary festivals that have given the UK a worldwide reputation – it would be devastating if they were unable to come back with a bang, or if smaller festivals that underpin the talent pipeline disappear entirely. We want to hear from festival staff as they face huge pressures, fans who’ve missed out, as well as musicians on the contribution that festivals make to our culture and economy.

“It’s crucial that support to enable music festivals to go ahead in 2021 and beyond is put in place. We’ll be assessing what’s been done so far and what more needs to be done to safeguard the future of festivals.”

Earlier today (Wednesday, November 11), the Music Venue Trust launched a new ‘Traffic Light’ campaign aimed at there securing the future of 30 grassroots music venues considered to be at imminent rick of closure and deemed ineligible for funding from the government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund. 

The latest round of funding saw legendary London venue Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club and the London Venue Group among the most recent beneficiaries, with a raft of other live music venues, theatres and arts organisations having received funding in previous rounds.