The Daily Telegraph

‘My music festivals aren’t just for fun – they also provide work for hundreds’

- Jez Lee, 49, event planner As told to Eleanor Halls

With this new four-week delay, I’m set to lose another eight events this summer. As the founder of Fake Festival, the UK’S only touring event featuring covers bands, I put on two marquee festivals every weekend in the summer. We’ve already lost half of our season – around 20 events – and will now have to refund the 14,400 tickets we’d already sold for those four weeks. The money we’ve spent promoting those festivals is money we’ll never get back.

My business is based on specific numbers – that’s why we do 40 festivals a year, to lessen the overheads. Any less than that and it becomes very difficult to make any profit. My business plan doesn’t work if

I have to halve the number of tickets. I wish I’d known about the delay earlier in the year because then I probably wouldn’t have bothered putting Fake Festivals on at all this year. We have a lot of loyal people that work for us, who fit Fake Festivals around their daily work, because we are a Friday, Saturday, Sunday operation. So people have already juggled around their regular gigs, or even quit their main job because they make enough money throughout the summer from us. We employ about 100 staff on temporary contracts every single weekend, and we hire lots of people locally, so it has a huge knock-on effect on them. We’ve also got six bands playing every weekend: what are they going to do?

The delay to lifting doesn’t make sense to me. Because I don’t see the data being that strong. We’re all sick to the back teeth of this, but I can’t do anything about it. If I go ahead with the events, I’ll get fined. So I just have to roll over.

Boris said he wasn’t going to go back on his word, and that we would be rewarded if we waited. But he has – and where is our reward?

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