Steve Heap’s Rant

Did you ever feel ignored? Perhaps some festivals were, through the banking crisis of 2009 up to 2013 when the festival industry was going through difficult times. Even when London 2012 was on, the regular festival scene was taking a knock. Grants were impossible. Sponsors focussed on all things Olympic. But most of us managed to survive because we did what we always do. We budgeted accordingly, we cut our cloth and we set achievable targets. The festival scene continues to grow and is good at it.Through those difficult times we still supplied audiences with the arts, we paid into musicians funds through PRS, we still contributed to local and national economies through our customers, and we survived. But we did most of it without receiving any help.Now, with what appears to be an upturn in our fortunes – festivals are reporting good sales and profits in 2014 and some even better in 2015 – there’s a sniff of success in the air. So who are all these people who want a slice of our cake, which we fought so hard to bake and save during the recession years? They didn’t support us when we were in trouble – now we are becoming successful again they all want a piece of the action.

Witness PRS for Music – it has an opportunity to do the right thing. The Valuation Office Agency VOA – somebody has decided that festivals on greenfield sites should be paying business rates. That could cripple, even close down, several events and festivals especially if they pursue the proposed backdating.

We at Furness Tradition have a lot of sympathy for his views. You can read the full article here.



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