The U.K.’s 2022 festival season is facing costs rising well beyond inflation and a lack of confidence due to what has been deemed an insufficient government insurance scheme.

That’s according to Independent Festivals Association CEO Paul Reed, who called for more support for the sector at the trade body’s annual congress event Tuesday.

Festivals are said to be facing 20-30% cost increases for operations and infrastructure as the prices of labor, staffing, materials and transport rise. For context, inflation in the U.K. hit 5.4% in December and is expected to exceed 7% by spring.

Most festivals, Reed said, cannot pass the cost onto the consumer because many events are honoring tickets bought in 2019 after two years of COVID-driven cancellations. AIF data says that 53% of festivals in the U.K. with a capacity of more than 5k did not take place last year.

Furthermore, as has been widely discussed, he said the government’s Live Events Reinsurance Scheme has been declared unfit for its purpose due to its limited scope and excessive cost and as a result, has not been adopted by festival organizers.

Reed called on the government to continue VAT relief on festival tickets, which would maintain the current, reduced 12.5% rate beyond the end of March, and consider a loan scheme for suppliers that would alleviate pressure on and encourage investment in the festival supply chain.

“We are facing a perfect storm in many ways,” he said. “We may be emerging from the shadow of the pandemic in the U.K., but this year will not be a case of 'business as usual’ without critical support for festival organizers.”