Wednesday 11 November 2020 10:30 am

MPs launch inquiry into future of UK music festivals

MPs have launched an inquiry into how to ensure the survival of UK music festivals after the sector was decimated by the outbreak of coronavirus.

The vast majority of festivals, including Glastonbury, British Summer Time and Parklife, were cancelled this summer due to the pandemic, with revenues down an estimated 90 per cent.

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The inquiry, led by the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) select committee, will look at government policy to support music festivals scheduled to go ahead next year.

It will also consider the economic and cultural contribution that festivals make to the UK.

“The collapse of the vibrant music festival sector this year is a real cause for concern,” said committee chair Julian Knight. 

“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.”

He added: “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.”

While festivals are allowed to go ahead if they are Covid-19 secure and comply with relevant legislation, social distancing rules determine whether an event is financially and logistically viable.

MPs will also consider the impact on communities, ticket holders and suppliers from the potential collapse of festivals, as well as the huge impact on freelancers as a result of cancellations.

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Just under 5m people attended a festival in the UK in 2018, with the sector estimated to have generated £1.76bn in gross value added last year.

The committee will also take into account the positive impact on local economies, with festival-goers estimated to have spent roughly £35m in areas around festival sites in 2017.

The DCMS committee is inviting written submissions to its inquiry by Wednesday 9 December.