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MPs launch inquiry to ensure survival of music festivals in 2021

MPs are set to consider evidence on how UK music festivals can survive in 2021, as COVID-19 has caused revenues to plummet by 90 per cent across the sector.

The Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) Committee announced the new inquiry to examine government policy to support future music festivals in the face of immediate pressures, and consider the economic and cultural contribution that music festivals make to the UK.

DCMS Committee chair Julian Knight MP said: “The collapse of the vibrant music festival sector this year is a real cause for concern. The majority of festivals have been cancelled with the money they generate down by 90% and real risks surrounding their future viability.

“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.”

MPs are seeking written contributions from festival staff, fans, musicians, local communities, ticket holders, suppliers and the vast freelance workforce affected by this year’s mass cancellations.

Knight continues: “We want to hear from festival staff as they face huge pressures, fans who’ve missed out, as well as musicians on the contribution that festivals make to our culture and economy.

“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.”

Despite no current plan for when large events will be permitted to return, many UK festivals are still planning for 2021. The inquiry announcement follows the news of the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine breakthrough, which could provide a path to festivals reviving next summer.

UK festivals, including Reading and Leeds and Glastonbury, are estimated to have generated £1.76bn gross value added in 2019, with considerable benefit to local economies.

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