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Two more UK festivals cancelled

Two more UK festivals have announced they will no longer take place in 2024.

Connect Music Festival and 110 Above Festival join a growing list of UK festivals to have announced some form of cancellation already this year, including NASS Festival, Leopollooza, Long Division, Bluedot, Barn On The Farm and Splendour, as well as Nozstock The Hidden Valley, which says its 2024 edition will be its last.

Meanwhile, organisers of a third event – Norfolk’s Wild Fields – are battling to reconfigure the planned three-day camping event into a two-day city-based gathering. A collaboration between ATC Group and the team behind Norwich-based multi-venue festival Wild Paths, the 10,000-cap Wild Fields was set for Raynham Estate in North Norfolk from 15-18 August.

The festival was aiming to offer “a truly diverse range of festival performers,” having signed up to Keychange’s 50/50 pledge. Artists booked included Ezra Collective, SBTRKT, Los Bitchos and Nightmares on Wax.

However, festival director Ben Street tells IQ that the team are trying to salvage the festival and are awaiting licensing approval to move to a city park. A statement from Wild Fields reads, “As a team we’ve platformed some of the most exciting, progressive line-ups and sought to challenge convention, outdated attitudes and trends in the industry. Making these choices has never been easy but we’ve been tenacious and stuck to our values.”

DF Concerts says its Connect Music Festival, held at Edinburgh’s Royal Highland Showgrounds, will “take a break” in 2024.

“We’ve decided to take a break with Connect Music Festival in 2024 to take the time to build the next edition of the festival, to make sure it flourishes, evolves, and continues to offer wonderful experiences for all the fans,” says a statement shared on social media.

“Week by week, day by day, one by one these brilliant, vital independent music festivals are disappearing”

The 110 Above Festival, meanwhile, was scheduled for Gopsall Hall Farm, Leicestershire from 10-13 August, with acts such as Circa Waves, The Mysterines, Jack Garratt and Twin Atlantic.

“Having considered carefully and explored various options we have taken the tough decision to give 2024 a miss,” explain organisers. “The current economic climate means it would be reckless to plough on with such uncertainty and volatile costs – particularly for a fully independent festival like ours.

“We already had a feel for this in 2023 where conditions were challenging and the festival made a sizeable loss. This could have been much worse if it wasn’t for the amazing support from team members, contractors and supporters. What’s next? The break will give us a chance to re-group, and re-energise. We really want to keep 110 alive as it’s a passion that we see bring joy to so many.”

In response, UK trade body the Association of Independent Festivals (AIF) is repeating calls for a three-year reduction in VAT on festival tickets from 20% to 5%.

“Week by week, day by day, one by one these brilliant, vital independent music festivals are disappearing,” says AIF CEO John Rostron. “With it, we lose the pipeline of talent development for artists and a space for audiences to find new music across the UK. Future headliners were made here.

“The costs of putting on these festivals has risen so much, way beyond the price of the ticket, and so independent festival promoters – already losing money – are having to call time.

“This is a long tail impact of Covid and of Brexit. If the UK wants to be a world leader in music, then the UK government needs to do as other countries across the world have done, and support the festival sector for a few years to make its recovery. Lower VAT on tickets to 5% for three years, and we’ll prevent more festivals having to say enough is enough and goodbye.”

A similar situation is unfolding in Australia, where at least six festivals have been called off since the beginning of this year, in what some executives are calling a crisis.


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