Music festivals have been a big casualty of the pandemic. COVID-19 restrictions have meant the majority of festivals this year have been cancelled with revenues down by 90%. According to the Committee, 4.9 million people attended a festival in the UK in 2018, with festivals estimated to have generated £1.76 billion in gross value added (GVA) last year. GVA is a measure of the increase in the value of the economy due to the production of goods and services.

The House of Commons Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee is therefore carrying out an inquiry. It will consider the UK government’s policy to support music festivals due to take place in 2021 in the face of immediate pressures, as well as considering the economic and cultural contribution that music festivals make to the UK.

Festivals can take place if they are COVID-19 secure and comply with all relevant legislation. However, social distancing requirements will determine the financial and logistical viability of an event. There are also questions about how audiences will respond to a socially distanced festival experience. The uncertainly of the public health situation and legal requirements next summer presents further risk for festival organisers.

The inquiry is open until 9 December 2020.