Association of Independent Festivals launches ‘First Festival Campaign’

The Association of Independent Festivals (AIF) has today (Friday) launched a new campaign and fund, that will grant access to festivals for thousands of people over the age of 18 across the UK.

The ‘First Festival Campaign’ has been created as the association and its supports believe that everyone should be able to access festivals and the pivotal cultural moments these events provide, once they turn 18. 

The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic saw many young people turning 18 in lockdown miss out on their first festival experience. With many of last year’s festival tickets rolled over from cancelled events, young people continued to miss out on their first festival experience. With the additional difficulties as a result of the cost-of-living crisis, festivals may be out of reach for young people. 

AIF’s ‘First Festival Campaign’ will see UK residents that turned 18 between September 1 2019 and August 31 2023 able to register their interest in attending one of the association’s member festivals. 

Individuals and organisations are also able make donations to the campaign to enable young people to attend these festivals. Tickets will be released as funding targets are met, with eligible 18-year-olds on the waiting list able to purchase a ticket for their chosen festival for just £18 (€21/$23).

AIF has taken inspiration from countries such as Germany, Italy and France where those turning 18 are offered a voucher by the government, worth between €200 and €500, to be spent on cultural events and activities. 

Festivals that have already signed up to the new initiative include Nass Festival, 110 Above Presents, OTHR Festival, Above & Beyond Brighton Beach, Camp Wildfire Festival, Kendal Calling and more. 

“I was speaking to some students recently who are set to graduate this year, and it became apparent that none of them had ever attended a festival,” said AIF chief executive John Rostron. 

“It really hit me just what an impact Covid had on their lives. So we decided to do something about it. Everyone should have a first festival experience, and it should be a thrilling and vital part of every person’s journey into adulthood. So many of us have wonderful festival memories to share, and brilliant festival stories to tell. We’re hoping that there’ll be individuals and organisations who are able to spare some money to put into the fund to help people attend their first festivals this year.”

First Festival’s online and transactional infrastructure will be powered by Tickets for Good.