The impact on music festivals from Coronavirus in 2020

For anyone who loves the festival season – definitely us – 2020 has been a very sad year for live music, but just how deep is the impact of the global shutdowns?

The heat of Summer is here and whilst we should be sat in a field sipping from tins and laughing with friends with the backdrop of nearby bands taking to the stage – unfortunately the Coronavirus, which I don’t think anyone needs catching up on, has scuppered any big festival plans.

Pretty much all of the festivals around the world have either been postponed or fully cancelled for the year. We’re all experiencing the sadness of missing our favourite festivals but I think we can all understand and accept the decisions made. But how is it affecting the music industry, festival organisers, and artists themselves?

A new report from Viberate, who provided us with the great resource Sick Festivals earlier in the year to track the status of festivals, looks into just this impact.

They’ve found that more than 750 festivals have been hit by the effects of Coronavirus shutdowns worldwide. Remarkably, the country who seems to have had the most festivals affected is the Netherlands. With 121 festivals feeling the effects of Coronavirus they were hit worse than the UK and the US, with 86 and 90 festivals reported to be affected respectively.

July was supposed to be the busiest month and would have seen the peak of the year’s festivals however the report from Viberate shows that festivals planned for between March and May were the worst hit. This is because the effects were still fresh and they sadly had little time to prepare.

Overall, the predicted impact of 2020’s unfortunate festival shutdown is predicted to have a $16.8 billion direct economic impact around the world. This includes ticket sales but also merchandising, food and drink, and other businesses based in festivals. The loss of ticket sales is predicted to $5.1 billion with 13.2 million fans unable to go to festivals.

This is a clear representation of how massive the losses are for everyone involved in the festival industry. It is clear that organisers, the musicians, and the people who work elsewhere at festivals – like food vans – need support with these damning losses.

It’s not just a simple case of festivals and event organisers cancelling for the year and delaying until next year. Huge losses have been seen and for many organisers it may be fatal. The UK’s Glastonbury festival organisers, one of the world’s most renowned festivals, have warned that if the effects continue through to next year they wouldn’t survive another postponement.

The WHO have warned that the worst may still be yet to come with the fallout of this global pandemic. If large events are still in such a questionable position next year it could be truly disastrous to an industry which is already struggling under the effects of what is essentially a write-off year for them.

For the full report from Viberate on the impact of Coronavirus on festivals around the world head here.

Head of Social Media and Marketing, RouteNote

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