COVID-19: ‘Summer lost’ for festivals after government ruled out insurance plan for mass events, report warns

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COVID-19: ‘Summer lost’ for festivals after government ruled out insurance plan for mass events, report warns


The government’s refusal to implement an insurance plan for mass events this year means the festival industry is considering a “lost summer,” according to a Commons report.

The Minister of Culture, Caroline Dinenage, has previously excluded the the introduction of such a program, claiming that it could “pull the rug out from under the feet” of the organizers.

Boomtown Festival, which had already sold its allocation of 66,000 tickets, was canceled again for this year, citing the lack of COVID-19 insurance as the reason.

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The Boomtown Festival usually takes place on the Matterley Estate near Winchester

However, there is optimism in the industry, with major events such as Reading and Leeds Festival and Isle Of Wight both set to take place.

The Digital, Culture, Media and Sports Committee (DCMS) is now calling on the government to provide such an insurance scheme, saying waiting until after June 21 would be too late.

DCMS Committee Chairman and Conservative MP Julian Knight said: “Music festivals have been treated like the poor cousin by the government.

“Despite the enormous economic and cultural contribution they make, few have benefited from the Culture Recovery Fund, and without our efforts the sector would have been excluded from the Safe Return pilot events program. public.

Festival Republic will host a pilot event at Download’s regular site in Derbyshire, which will allow 10,000 people to camp and enjoy three days of music.

Mr. Knight added: “We have been told very clearly that the vast majority of music festivals do not have the financial resilience to cover the costs of another year of late cancellations.

“If the commercial insurance market does not intervene, ministers must do so, and urgently: Events must now know whether the government will support them, or they simply will not take place this year.

“We reiterate our call for the government to announce an insurance plan to cover festival organizers if events need to be canceled due to COVID-19 restrictions extending beyond June 21.

“There is still time to get the music playing, but no more room for excuses. “

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The emergence of the Indian variant of COVID-19 a a new doubt piled up by the proposed reopening date of June 21 in England, cases are starting to increase again.

Concerns over the lack of financial support for festivals were shared by the Association of Independent Festivals (AIF), with its managing director, Paul Reed, who told Sky News: “This is a huge risk for any festival. independent to commit in advance, non-reimbursable expenses and very difficult to plan with confidence in the absence of insurance.

“The average cost of running an independent festival is over £ 6million.

“A recent survey of AIF members found that 92.5% of those surveyed did not plan to organize their events without some form of government-backed insurance or compensation, with the measure being described as vital. and not optional. ”

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