Festivals may face a “perfect storm” this year because of Brexit, an industry leader has said.
Paul Reed, chief executive of the Association of Independent Festivals, warned festivals this summer will likely be hit by problems such as labour shortages and supply chain crises, meaning it will not be “business as usual”.
During the 2022 AIF Festival Congress, he said the industry has lost skilled workers and is facing a hike in overall costs up to 30 per cent – labelling a government scheme aimed to help the industry as “not fit for purpose”.
Warning of perfect storm – but here is what government could do
“We are facing a perfect storm in many ways,” he said, according to The Independent.
He added: “We may be emerging from the shadow of the pandemic in the UK, but this year will not be a case of ‘back to business as usual’ without critical support for festival organisers.”
Reed asked the government for continued VAT relief on festival tickets beyond March, and for a scheme encouraging investment from suppliers.
He also said the government should not cut tax incentives for some biofuels, in order to encourage greener fuels at live events.
And whilst Reed cited a “very challenging time” for festivals in the UK, last month it was revealed that only one of 27 EU countries agreed to sign a deal with the UK in a bid to save post-Brexit music tours.
‘Mountains of red tape’ for musicians because of Brexit
Despite prime minister Boris Johnson promising in March last year to solve the bureaucratic issues facing musicians, only Spain signed an agreement since.
Deborah Annetts, ISM chief executive, said: “The sector is now facing mountains of red tape, which is both costly and time-consuming.
“The proposed solutions such as bilateral agreements with EU states have not materialised, apart from with Spain, and there are serious issues with cabotage, carnets and designated ports.
“All these issues are adversely impacting the UK music industry and the broader creative industries, which is worth £116bn per annum, the same as finance or construction.”
Opera singer Dame Sarah Connolly warned last year that UK’s creative industries would lose their competitiveness in a post-Brexit world – but despite feeling “furious” about the situation musicians find themselves in, she said she predicted it.
She added: “The sad reality is that young performers are not given the opportunity to work in Europe, they can’t get a foothold there. We are losing 27 countries, while Europeans are only missing out on Britain.
“However, I will also miss Europeans here because they add to the diversity.
“European students are not going to choose the London Conservatoire anymore. London is no longer going to be one of the artistic capitals of Europe, because already European students are no longer coming here. It’s all going to become very myopic.”