The economic impact from festivals not taking place will have a major impact on local and regional communities because those events – respected for their financial and cultural contributions – have been postponed or even cancelled. That’s the headline statement from Steve Heap, general secretary of the Association of Festival Organisers (AFO), who has said that coronavirus has taken its toll, with 87 per cent of AFO member festivals moving their events to 2021.

With festivalgoers spending around £320 per head at each festival, the figures add up and paint a “bleak” image.

Heap, who is also chairman of the Events Industry Forum, said: “There will be casualties both in festival terms and the enormous band of contractors and suppliers. 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 that so many festivals support. This, quite apart from the livelihoods of mainly self-employed festival organisers and back up teams.”

The AFO has produced a calendar of dates, which details new member festival dates for 2021.

Furthermore, the AFO has urged festival organisers to contact their local media – newspapers, radio and TV – to spread the message that the future strength of our communities and regions can be supported throughout this crisis by asking festivalgoers to hold on to their tickets for 2021, to not ask for refunds, and even buy tickets for future events. Local residents will soon notice that vital funds have disappeared from the area when a festival is no longer there.

To access the new festival dates list, click here.