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£30 billion industry faces ruin over winter months

The outdoor events industry, which provides entertainment for millions each summer, is on the verge of collapse following the lockdown this year, according to the Events Industry Forum, the organisation that represents the sector.

Already some 50 percent of the full-time workforce have been made redundant and another 25% will lose their jobs when furloughing ends at the end of this month (October).  In addition, thousands of freelance operators and part time employees have had little or no income this season.

In all outdoor events employ some 589,000 people, according to research by Bournemouth University carried out in 2019 and generate over £39 billion in spend, much in local community businesses around the locations where events happen.   See

The Events Industry Forum has made a direct appeal to Government for a period of targeted financial support as fears grow for businesses large and small the length and breadth of the country that rely on outdoor and indoor events for their survival.

Representing a wide range of events familiar to many such as Agricultural Shows, Firework displays and music events, the Forum has highlighted the fact that all such events rely on a common supply chain supplying basic infrastructure seen at all such events.

Whether it be public address systems, security, fencing right down to portable toilets, companies providing these items have undergone a devastating year. Without some support these businesses will not survive which will threaten the viability of events for 2021 and beyond.

“What we are asking for is a time limited support mechanism to cover the basic overheads of these businesses until the next season,” says Jim Winship, Secretary of the Forum.   “Compared to the funding of other industry sectors, a relatively small amount is needed to secure the future of this sector until the next season.

“Many businesses in this sector are small independent companies, or even sole traders, and we know that some support covering the winter period from November – March would on one hand guarantee their survival and the preservation of Britain’s vibrant events programme, but if properly focused and time limited it would not present the Treasury with a huge cost. Given the Gross Valued Added of this industry is estimated at £30billion, the £151 million support we estimate that is needed to keep the sector going over the winter is small compared to the contribution we can make to rebuilding the economy in the long term.

“Outdoor events are widely recognised as being a factor that will help the UK’s recovery.   Economic impact research shows that many outdoor events bring considerable revenue into businesses around them, from hotels and restaurants to shopping centres, all of which need help.   Furthermore, the research by Bournemouth University shows that these events make a positive contribution to community spirit – something we are all going to need as we come out of this pandemic.”

For further information please contact:

Jim Winship, Secretary, The Events Industry Forum



The Events Industry Forum (EIF) provides an informal meeting point for trade bodies and similar organisations in the outdoor events industry.   The group usually meets twice a year to share information and discuss issues of common interest.    Currently 26 organisations support the EIF.   The Forum, under EIF Limited, also publishes the Purple Guide on a non-for-profit basis.

Member Organisations

Association of Circus Proprietors

Association of Festival Organisers

Association of Independent Festivals

Association of Show and Agricultural Organisations

Association of Stage Pyrotechnics

British Air Display Association

British Arts Festivals Association

British Pyrotechnic Association

Business Visits and Events Partnership

Chartered Institute for the Management of Sport and Physical Activity

Event Hire Association

Event Supplier and Services Association

Institution of Occupational Safety & Health

Local Authority Event Organisers’ Group

Made Up Textiles Association

Major Events International

National Association of Outdoor Events

National Caterers’ Association

National Police Chief’s Council

National Traction Engine Trust

Outdoor Arts UK

Production Services Association

Portable Sanitation Europe

Professional Lighting & Sound Association

Rugby Football Union

The Concert Promoters Association

The Event Services Association

The National Centre for Resilience Learning and Development (EPC)

The Showmen’s Guild of GB

The UK Crowd Management Association