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Supplier Shortages Impacting the UK Festival Season in 2022

Andy Robertson

The shortage of just about anything used by festivals in the UK has been highlighted in the media since the beginning of the year. A combination of the coronavirus pandemic, Brexit, inflation and other factors has had a detrimental effect on the entire festival sector. What are the key issues taking place now as we enter the hectic festival season.


It has already been well documented that many festival suppliers struggled financially during the last 2 years with many going out of business. This is causing issues for organisers trying secure infrastructure suppliers for the summer of 2022. Any problems have been further exasperated by an ever-increasing number of issues that will make some festivals unable to host their events this year and cancellations are starting to emerge.

Infrastructure.
Every festival needs a variety of infrastructure elements to make their events happen, from security fencing and A/V equipment to power generation and toilet facilities. The reduction in the number of suppliers has resulted in fierce competition between festival organisers to secure the things they need. Suppliers have been faced with rising prices to run their day-to-day business operations and these prices are being passed on to organisers. Supply and demand is causing yet further price increases as organisers try to outbid each other to get what they need. Supplier logistics are also being impacted by transportation woes as many hauliers have disposed of vehicles and combined with the ongoing driver shortage organisers should insist that suppliers have robust delivery plans in place.

Bottled Alcohol. 
As recently as a few weeks ago industry experts have been warning of a severe shortage of glassware caused by raw material prices jumping by 80% in the last 12 months due to rising energy costs. This will impact bottled beers, wines and spirits and many producers are switching to cans as a result. The impact will vary for festivals as many beverage vendors use kegs of beer, however, festival-goers seeking bottled alcohol may be disappointed by extremely high prices, if any are available at all.

Staffing. 
During the pandemic many workers in the festival sector found alternative employment and it has been difficult to tempt them back once they found more lucrative work elsewhere. Professional security contractors have been particularly badly hit and experienced security staff are in short supply. Festival organisers can utilise more inexperienced staff within the organising entity and make more use of volunteers but this may have detrimental effect of the quality of service provided to festival-goers.

Festival organisers are now entering a critical stage of their festival planning as the clock ticks down to their dates. The recruitment of staff needed is ongoing and should be a high priority but double checking on the logistics of suppliers needs careful observation to ensure they will deliver everything on time. This year is going to be challenging for organisers to deliver a high-quality event with all these background issues taking place. This may be the reason some organisers are cancelling their 2022 festivals already. 

For festival organisers planning their events using a software management platform like Festival Pro gives them all the functionality they need manage every aspect of their event logistics. The guys who are responsible for this software have been in the front line of event management for many years and the features are built from that experience and are performance artists themselves. The Festival Pro platform is easy to use and has comprehensive features with specific modules for managing artists, contractors, venues/stages, vendors, volunteers, sponsors, guestlists, ticketing, cashless payments and contactless ordering. 

Photo by Wolfgang via Pexels

Andy Robertson
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