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Festival and Events Associations and Industry Support.

Andy Robertson

During the current coronavirus pandemic, the support and advice from industry associations has played a crucial role for anyone involved in the live events industry. Some have been more proactive and vocal than others but overall, it has been a time for members to really benefit from their membership.        

There is a plethora of associations related to the live events industry some with very specific roles and some working together for the good of the industry. Here is a quick overview of the most active associations.

The Association of Festival Organisers.
Founded in 1987 the AFO has 250 members. The key initiatives and achievements for the AFO have been negotiating a new % license deal with PRS for Music, assisting in the writing and editing of The Purple Guide Lite specifically for smaller events. They have been particularly active in lobbying by forming and maintaining the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Events. This has involved negotiating a VAT reduction to 5% on ticket sales for a limited period to help finances after Covid-19. In addition they have agreed with HM Government that festivals should be included in grants from the Cultural Recovery Fund, Project Grants and other funds.

The Association of Independent Festivals.
Operating since 2008 with over 50 members the AIF conduct direct lobbying to Government and they sit on the UK Live Group of UK Music, the umbrella organisation representing the music industry to government.

National Outdoor Events Association.
One of the oldest associations catering for live events being founded in 1979 with over 500 members the NOEA run many campaigns and initiatives covering anything form diveristy to sustainability in the events industry.

Outdoor Arts UK.
Founded in 2002 with 275 member the not-for-profit organisation is funded by the Arts Council England as a National Portfolio Organisation. They are primarily focussed on the development of and standards for anyone working in outdoors arts.

The Concert Promoters Association.
The CPA has been around since 1986 with 58 members and they are active in promoting health and safety issues for live performances, the provision of affordable tickets and for creating opportunities for up-and-coming artists. The CPA have been active during the current pandemic by creating the #LetTheMusicPlay campaign.

Events Industry Forum.
The Events Industry Forum provides an informal organisation that brings together all the event industry trade associations and similar bodies to discuss issues of common interest.

There are many more niche associations for just about every aspect of the live events industry that cater for the interests of suppliers, contractors and venues. Whether it is worth joining any particular association may depend on the perceived benefits. The common threads coming from all these associations is their ability to lobby government, push important initiatives and provide standards and guidance to everyone working in the live events sector. 

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Photo by Teddy Yang from Pexels

Andy Robertson
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