UK festivals are soon to be covered by a government-backed £750 million insurance scheme.
Rishi Sunak is the UK’s Chancellor of the Exchequer, and he announced the scheme, which is in partnership with Lloyd’s bank. Titled the ‘Live Events Reinsurance’ it will be a lifeline for events forced to cancel last minute due to unforeseen changes to government restrictions linked to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Speaking about the Live Events Reinsurance, Rishi Sunak said: “This scheme will support live events across the UK that are open to the general public. It will cover costs incurred in the event of cancellation due to the event being legally unable to happen due to government Covid restrictions.”
Although there has been some criticism over the timing of the insurance scheme, it’s been welcomed by many from within the music industry, such as Jamie Njoku-Goodwin of UK Music, who said that “there were fears that without action we would have seen major cancellations continuing well into next year”. Paul Reid, the chief executive of the Association of Independent Festivals (AIF) added that the news was “positive that festival organisers will now have an option for Covid cancellation.”
Although it’s on a whole perceived to be a positive step, there is also some frustration after events like Glastonbury and Boomtown had already decided to cancel any 2021 plans for their festivals. Saying that it was too much of a risk for them to start planning and making deposit payments without having some kind of financial safety net.
Julian Knight is the Conservative chair of the DCMS, and he said that it was “a shame” that the scheme had been introduced “too late for some this summer.” There was a report from the AIF in June that found 51% of UK festivals with a capacity of over 5,000 had already cancelled their 2021 event, and 22% said they were having doubts about if they could risk proceeding with what they had planned…
The UK’s Culture Secretary, Oliver Dowden had previously stated that the country’s government would not consider festival insurance until lockdown had ended so it’s clear that events can go ahead, saying that: “I don’t think it’s reasonable to expect the taxpayer to provide a full indemnity for all the events if it’s not possible for them to happen.”
H/T: DJ Mag