– Industry Fears Loss of Major Festival Brands –

– Half of event businesses face losses of £100,000+ –

– 65% of companies planning redundancies, affecting over 589,000 employees –


11th June 2020, UK: The festival and events industry as we know it is on the brink of permanent demise according to research from the National Outdoor Events Association*. In a report out today, the organisation reports that 84% of all organisers questioned have seen their entire events programme wiped out for 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic hitting the industries peak summer months.


The National Outdoor Events Association is warning both attendees and government departments that the loss of these businesses could permanently change the shape of the festival and event industry and lead to the closure of some of the most recognised festival, sporting, cultural and event brands in the UK.


According to the research, the average loss to event businesses is £539,431 with over half suffering losses of £100,000 or more. Some companies are already suffering multi-million pound loses, while smaller businesses and individuals are looking at liabilities of tens of thousands of pounds.** The outdoor event and festival market contributes over £30.4bn to and with over 141.5 million people attending UK events annually***.


Jobs within the sector are also under severe threat, the UK outdoor events industry provides employment for over 589,000 people***, many within small SME companies or as freelancers with historically low margins. Three quarters of the companies surveyed have taken advantage of the staff furlough scheme, but over 65% are planning redundancies.


In addition, 51% of have said that without further support they will not see the end of 2020. Of those surveyed, 65% only have liquidity for 6 months or less and 41% only have enough for the next 3 months. However, whilst 65% of those surveyed have already applied for government grants 80% have yet to receive anything.







“These events are one pay cheque away from going out of business,” commented Tom Clements, President, National Outdoor Events Association. “If they can get them, government grants will get businesses through the next few months, but without any confidence on a September return, the vast portion of the festival season will be gone or at best stagnant until March / April next year.”


Tom continued, “If there are no events, these companies will desperately need more financial support. If not, they will go out of business. Creating events brands is difficult. To produce the next Reading, Leeds or TRNSMT takes years as well as a genuine incentive to do so. If these events go, they won’t be coming back any time soon.”


On the threat to the 589,000 people the industry employs, Tom added: “Realistically we could be looking at losing between a fifth and a quarter of these people which is devastating. These are creative people who have helped shape the events industry into the rich source of entertainment, culture, civic pride, employment and business stimulus it is today. We can’t afford to lose them out of the industry,” continues Tom.


The National Outdoor Event Industry also put its support behind ‘The Full Capacity Plan’**** put forward by Melvin Benn of Festival Republic’s, a proposal to incentivise more testing through events, encouraging safe mass organised gatherings and Events without the restrictions of social distancing. “We’re 100% behind these proposals, it allows events to be a solution, not a threat, and a chance to kick start our industry and save some of the outstanding businesses that are currently at risk.”


– ends –


Notes to editors:

* Source: National Outdoor Events Association membership research May / June 2020. Research conducted across association’s membership of 480 event-based companies.

** Figure is based on actual losses sustained from companies

*** Source: Event Industry Forum, Value of the Outdoor Events Industry Report, created in conjunction with Bournemouth University

**** Festival Republic, June 2020: www.festivalrepublic.com/news/full-capacity-plan