Independent festivals in the UK have received £4.5m of government funding as part of the Culture Recovery Fund, with 71 per cent of applicants being successful.

The Association of Independent Festivals (AIF) welcomed the bailout as a “lifeline” with 22 out of 31 applications receiving grants ranging from £50,000 to £783,939.

In this first round of funding, AIF members received financial support totalling £4.5m , with beneficiaries including NASS Festival (£585,000), End Of The Road Festival (£250,000), Lost Village (£250,000), and Bluedot (£245,000).

AIF said in a statement in response to the funding: “We warmly welcome this intervention from government and the results of the first round of the Culture Recovery Fund. 71% of AIF members who applied for a CRF grant in round one have been offered funding and it’s nothing short of a lifeline for those who have been successful.

“We thank DCMS and Arts Council England for this support, which amounts to almost £4.5m into the independent festival sector across our membership. This will have a hugely positive impact on the survival of these businesses.

“We are pleased that we were able to work positively with DCMS officials to ensure that festival organisers were eligible for the fund and they should be praised for their diligence in supporting the sector. We’re also aware that not all independent festivals had good news today and not all received funding. We’ll continue to support, represent and fight for our membership throughout this crisis.”

According to AIF, the UK’s festivals will miss out on an entire year’s worth of income due to the Covid-19 pandemic and have lost an average of £375,000 per event. The body represents 67 festivals in total, with a collective capacity of over 900,000.

Yesterday it was also announced that 1,300 venues and organisations will receive a share of £257m government arts funding. The venues and organisations in receipt of the funding could apply for a maximum of £1m, with future releases of up to £3m going to larger organisations in the future.

Despite the funding being celebrated across the cultural sector, it fell on the same day as an advert bearing the ‘HM Government’ logo was widely criticised by some claiming it was encouraging people to leave the arts.

The advert, which depicts a ballet dancer tying her shoes with the caption “Fatima’s next job could be in tech”, was slated by critics as thousands of jobs are being lost in the culture sector.

The advert was first published in 2019 – before the Covid-19 outbreak – by the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) executive agency as part of the CyberFirst campaign to encourage teenagers and young adults to consider a career in cyber security.

A spokesperson for the Prime Minister said: “This particular piece of content was not appropriate and has been removed from the campaign. The government recognises the challenge to the cultural industry.”

Image: NASS Festival