Standon Calling has announced that the festival will be postponed until 2025 due to a “very challenging climate”.

The Hertfordshire festival was supposed to be returning for its 18th year from July 20-23 but issues such as a steep increase in the cost of running the event has left the organisers no choice but to postpone the independent boutique music and art festival.

In a letter shared by Alex Trenchard, director of Standon Calling, on their official social media accounts, he said: “The painful truth is that ploughing on in this very challenging climate could risk the future of the festival. We believe that the only sensible decision is to take a fallow year for the very first time in our history (other than during the height of COVID-19) and use this time to make the 18th Standon Calling one for the ages.”

He continued: “Sadly, the situation is not unique to us. So many festival teams work hard all year round to deliver unforgettable weekends of memories in the face of unprecedented financial challenges. Over the last few weeks, several other independent festivals have been postponed for similar reasons.”

John Rostron, the CEO of The Association of Independent Festivals’ commented, sharing: “Standon Calling is now the ninth UK festival to announce its closure or postponement in 2024, further demonstrating the crisis that our sector is facing and the need for urgent government intervention. Festivals are being squeezed by the rise in supply chain costs, and the effects of closures and debt incurred during Covid, meaning they are in a unique, perilous position that threatens the future of almost all but the very biggest operators in the UK.

“We launched the 5% For Festivals campaign at our Festival Congress this month, urging the Government to reduce VAT on festival ticket sales from 20% to 5% – an evidence-based, simple, sensible remedy that would ease the financial burden on promoters enough for them to return to health. We need this action now, and encourage the public to visit, write to their MPs and support events so their favourite festivals don’t make 2024 their last.”

The announcement of the postponement of Standon Calling comes days after some performers and caterers claimed that they’re still “owed thousands” by the festival for work dating back to last summer.

In a report by the BBC, one catering business claimed they had still not seen their takings from the event, totalling around £13,000.

A young woman looks out of her tent at the surrounding festival campsite at Standon Calling music festival Standon Calling is a cool, independant festival in the rolling hills of Herfordshire where indie and world music bands provide much of the music. It is one of the new, small and quirky boutique festivals which have become popular in the UK. | Location: Standon, England, UK. (Photo by Gideon Mendel/In Pictures/Corbis via Getty Images)
A Standon Calling festival attendee in their tent. (Photo by Gideon Mendel/In Pictures/Corbis via Getty Images)

“It’s really scary, that’s a huge loss, we paid a lot to be there and it’s been worrying that we might never get it back,” the vendor, who wanted to remain anonymous, told the BBC.

Another group of performers who appeared at the festival claimed they were owed £12,000. “We loved Standon Calling, it was our local festival, we loved working there, we want to keep working there,” they told the BBC.

Recently, a new report has shown that music festivals across the UK will be reaching a “critical” point if they do not get a VAT reduction from the government.

Recently, figures from the UK independent festival scene spoke to NME about why so many grassroots events have seen cancellations recently or are taking a fallow year in 2024.

While a number of the UK’s mid-to-large capacity festivals have shared their line-ups over recent weeks, a number of grassroots events have broken news to fans that they would no longer be going ahead. Last month saw Herefordshire’s Nozstock Hidden Valley announce that 2024 would be their final incarnation after 26 years due to “soaring costs” and financial risk”, while the fan favourite Shepton Mallet skating and music festival NASS announced that they wouldn’t be putting on an event this summer either as it was “just not economically feasible to continue”.

Elsewhere, rising costs also cancelled Dumfries’ Doonhame Festival for 2024, Bluedot announced a year off for the land to “desperately” recover after being struck by heavy rain and cancellations last summer, Nottingham’s Splendour has been canned for this year due to planning delays from a financially-struggling city council, and Barn On The Farm shared that it would be taking a fallow year due to financial constraints.

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