As of next month, UK music festivals and live events will be supported by a government-led insurance scheme. The scheme, totalling £750m, aims to cover the cancellation cost if shows cannot go ahead as scheduled due to COVID-19 constraints.
With live music only just making a return after lengthy lockdown restrictions across the UK, the scheme has been welcomed by open arms by the music industry.
Festivals such as Wireless and We Are FSTVL have seen numerous re-arguments and pushbacks in the wake of the pandemic. The BBC has reported that over 50% of the scheduled festivals this year have been cancelled. Notable cancellations included the beloved Truck Fest, Kendal Calling and Lovebox, among others.
MP Julian Knight, the chairman of the House of Commons culture select committee, said: “Though it is a shame that it has come too late for some this summer, this scheme will provide the confidence the sector needs to plan and invest in future events.”
The scheme’s framework will see insurance companies provide financial cover for live shows, with the government agreeing to act as a reinsurer. This means that necessary payouts will have guaranteed funding.
Despite the largely positive reaction to the news, The Musicians’ Union voiced concerns. The organisation said the major problem with the scheme is that it does not provide cover for festivals that would enter financial jeopardy if social distancing came back into play.
“I am extremely pleased the government has decided to introduce an insurance scheme for the events and festival sector,” said Michael Kill, the CEO of the Night Time Industries Association. “It stands testament to a government that is starting to acknowledge the varying issues within the sector and, through engagement, take the appropriate action to protect businesses and jobs… It is devastating that the timings of this scheme could not have been earlier, as we have already lost many amazing festivals and events to the uncertainty that this pandemic represents.”
Currently, event companies can obtain the cover as early as next month, with the planned scheme set to run until September 2022.