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AIF targets festival first-timers with new scheme

The Association of Independent Festivals (AIF) has launched a new campaign and fund aimed at increasing access to festivals for people aged 18+ across the UK.

The First Festival Campaign is based on the fact that many people who turned 18 during the Covid pandemic missed out on their first festival experience due to lockdown.

Anyone in the UK who was/is 18 years of age between 1 September 2019 and 31 August 2023 can register interest in attending one of AIF’s member festivals via the First Festival website. Individuals and organisations are able to make donations to this campaign here.

Tickets will be released as funding targets are met, with eligible 18-year-olds on the waiting list able to buy a ticket for their chosen festival for just £18. Shambala, Kendal Calling, BlueDot, Nozstock: The Hidden Valley, End Of The Road and British Country Music Festival are among the initial sign ups.

“Everyone should have a first festival experience, and it should be a thrilling and vital part of every person’s journey into adulthood”

“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,” says AIF CEO 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.”

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

The full list of festivals to have signed up includes 110 Above Presents: OTHR Festival; Above & Beyond Brighton Beach; Belladrum Tartan Heart Festival; BlueDot Festival; British Country Music Festival; Camp Wildfire Festival; Chase & Status Brighton Beach; Deva Fest; El Dorado; End of The Road Festival; Green Belt; Green Gathering; Kendal Calling; NASS Festival; Noisily; Nozstock: The Hidden Valley; PennFest; Readipop Festival; Rock Oyster; Shambala; Takedown Festival; UK Tech-Fest; Underneath The Stars Festival; Valley Fest; and We Out Here.


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