Michael Dugher outlines how music festivals are a “force for good”

UK Music chief executive Michael Dugher spoke of the huge benefits of music festivals at the AIF (Association of Independent Festivals) Festival Congress in Cardiff on Monday.

Appearing on a Question Time panel chaired by AIF general manager Paul Reed, Michael set out findings from UK Music’s reports that show the £4.4 billion contribution the industry makes to the economy.

Michael said the Live sector contributed over a £1 billion a year to the economy in 2016, while 3.9 million fans attended festivals and music tourism generated spend of £4 billion.

Alongside Christof Huber from YouRope on the panel, Michael called on the Government to ensure the music industry’s success was protected and supported during the Brexit process.

Michael said this should include addressing issues such as the loss of freedom of movement. He added that an EU-wide touring passport might be needed for musicians and crew to travel across the EU and a carnet system might be required for merchandise and equipment.

Michael warned of the need to ensure the copyright framework - the bedrock of the industry - was protected and maintained after the UK leaves the EU.

He also discussed political activism at festivals and encouraged festivals to continue to heighten awareness of issues, charities and campaigns. Festivals are a force for good, he said.

Michael mentioned his involvement as a patron of the Live In Barnsley festival and its success in getting people who would not normally go to festivals to join the fun and help the local economy.

He concluded by mentioning some of UK Music’s campaigns, such as calling for an “agent of change” principle to help safeguard music venues and the need to protect music in schools.

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