UK faces massive wave of festival cancellations for 2024

The UK is confronting a staggering wave of festival cancellations for 2024, with 40 events already scrapped, reports the Association for Independent Festivals (AIF). The industry is sounding the alarm that, without immediate government support, more events may be scrapped this year than during the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic.


AIF, the leading body representing 202 festivals across the UK, is urgently calling on the government to reduce VAT on ticket sales from 20% to 5% for three years. This tax break is seen as crucial to preventing further losses in the festival sector.


This month, several high-profile festivals have announced cancellations. Herefordshire’s El Dorado Festival, which was set to take place, became the 40th event to pull out this year on May 21st. Organizers cited a sharp rise in operational costs and the impact of the increased cost of living on both the industry and attendees.


In recent weeks, Glasgow’s Riverside Festival also cancelled its 11th edition due to lower-than-expected ticket sales and rising costs for infrastructure, staff, transport, and artists, amid an oversaturated market. Additionally, the long-running Nozstock The Hidden Valley announced it will end after this year’s event, and We Are FSTVL in East London cancelled its plans for this weekend due to safety concerns caused by unprecedented rainfall.


AIF’s latest data reveals a worrying trend: 172 festivals have vanished over the past five years. This includes 96 lost to the pandemic, 36 in 2023, and now 40 more in early 2024. Analysts warn that up to 100 festivals could disappear by December without targeted support.


John Rostron, AIF’s CEO, emphasized the urgency: “The rapid rate of festival cancellations in 2024 is alarming. We’re seeing the decline of one of the UK’s most vibrant and culturally significant industries, not due to a lack of public interest, but because of unpredictable and unsustainable supply chain costs and market instability. Our proposal for a temporary VAT reduction on ticket sales is a well-considered, targeted solution that could save this vital sector. Immediate action is needed.”


For more updates on the global electronic music market, visit the Climax Play news page.

Scroll to Top