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AIF launches campaign to subsidise the first festival experience of eighteen year old music fans

By | Published on Friday 9 June 2023


The UK’s Association Of Independent Festivals has announced a new initiative that will raise funds to enable anyone who turned eighteen in the last few years to attend a festival operated by one of the trade group’s members for just £18.

Explaining the rationale behind what is called the First Festival Campaign, AIF says that the scheme has been “built on the belief that, upon turning eighteen, everyone should be able to access the pivotal cultural moment that festivals provide. But, in recent years, many have not had that opportunity. The COVID-19 pandemic saw most people who were turning eighteen at the time miss out on their first festival experience due to lockdown”.

“Even in 2022”, it goes on, “lots of festivals rolled tickets over from 2019, meaning that hundreds of thousands of young people missed out on this key moment again. Still today, the cost of living crisis has made attending festivals out of reach for many people”.

With that in mind, it explains, “the First Festival Campaign means that anyone in the UK who was/is eighteen years of age between 1 Sep 2019 and 31 Aug 2023 can register interest in attending one of AIF’s member festivals via the First Festival website”.

“Meanwhile, individuals and organisations are able to make donations to this campaign. Tickets will be released as funding targets are met, with eligible eighteen year olds on the waiting list able to buy a ticket for their chosen festival for just £18″.

The campaign has been inspired by government-run schemes in other European countries, including Germany, France and Italy, where eighteen year olds were given a voucher that could be used to access cultural events and activities.

Commenting on the initiative, AIF CEO John Rostron says: “I was speaking to some students recently who are set to graduate this year and it became apparent that none of them had ever attended a festival. It really hit me just what an impact COVID had on their lives”.

“So we decided to do something about it”, he adds. “Everyone should have a first festival experience, and it should be a thrilling and vital part of every person’s journey into adulthood. So many of us have wonderful festival memories to share, and brilliant festival stories to tell. We’re hoping that there’ll be individuals and organisations who are able to spare some money to put into the fund to help people attend their first festivals this year”.

Participating festivals include Belladrum Tartan Heart, BlueDot, End Of The Road, Green Gathering, Kendal Calling, NASS, Shambala, UK Tech-Fest and We Out Here.

Find out more and apply here.