The ‘Delta Variant’ has resulted in the government extending restristions for another four weeks, which is exactly the time frame where the festival season should be cracking into full swing. The AFO have summed up the situation well in their latest press release:
DELTA 4 – OUTDOOR EVENTS NIL
14 June should have been a day for rejoicing for all of us in the outdoor events industry. Unfortunately, the Delta variant has slowed down our charge toward full reopening. Clearly, we cannot hold all our events in what remains of the summer season, especially those that need full shoulder to shoulder capacity.
Some of our industry can still operate under Step 3 rules and at least keep the flag flying for the outdoor business. Others like the wedding industry now have a small relaxation that could help toward surviving this most difficult period.
Our supply chain is still holding on with some finding work with the NHS and others in supermarket security. But without a little ‘give way’ in immigration rules, even temporary, several supply companies predict a serious labour shortage.
The world of marquees has continued to find long term bookings as temporary homes for testing and vaccinating, leaving several regular customers without the kit they now need but who can blame them as the arts world has been so unsure of its future for over a year.
As for toilets, September seems to be the month when the shortage will really hit, along with tracking and fencing. With not too many gigs this summer one would think PA and Lights would be an easy hire but with production companies losing staff and jobs there has been a large amount of kit being sold to Europe, where live music tours are happening if you are not an English outfit.
“This is an industry that contributes £billions of pounds to the local and UK economy annually and is currently being pushed back time and time again” said Steve Heap, General Secretary of AFO.
The Association of Festival Organisers will continue to fight the corner for the return of safe and full-scale festival and events, however large or small they may be.
We continue to press government to underwrite an insurance policy and for an extension to the furlough scheme. We need the VAT holiday/reduction without which our Industry will shrink even further as we wait for another 4 weeks to hopefully hear some good news.”
Government must now listen and pay attention to the industry that was first to close down and now needs to re-open without further delay.
Steve Heap, General Secretary, AFO
Find out more about the AFO at https://www.festivalorganisers.org/