The UK live events industry has demanded an urgent government timetable for an insurance scheme to support the 2021 summer of festivals.
Industry leaders and speakers from the insurance industries met online during the Let LIVE Thrive campaign event today (Wednesday), to discuss proposals for a Government-backed insurance scheme for live events.
UK Music chief executive Jamie Njoku-Goodwin appeared on the panel, which also included DCMS Select Committee chair Julian Knight MP, broadcaster and former Olympian Sir Brendan Foster, Paul Reed, chief executive of the Association of Independent Festivals (AIF) and Philippa Childs, head at BECTU.
Knight said a Government-backed insurance scheme offered a “sensible solution” to what was a market failure and was needed “now more than ever” to lead to a “summer of fun rather than a summer of none.”
Most festivals, concerts and sporting competitions will not be able to take place if there is no cover available, according to an AIF survey that found that 92.5 per cent of respondents would not go ahead without insurance.
AIF’s Reed added during the meeting: “The season is ebbing away and with it the vast economic contribution the sector makes.”
During the event, speakers urged the Government to commit to engaging with insurers to agree a structure for an insurance scheme for live events as swiftly as possible. They also called on the Government to map out a timetable to consult on the scheme and give event organisers clarity about the weeks ahead.
Njoku-Goodwin warned of a “wave of cancellations” without a Government-backed insurance scheme for music festivals and events.
He added: “We want to be able to get to a position where we can support ourselves. There is more risk in not doing this than in doing this.”
The UK Music chief called on the Government to introduce an insurance scheme similar to the one that had protected jobs and boosted growth and investment in the film and TV industries.
According to a report by City A.M., the government has already said it would launch a pilot insurance scheme, capped at £300,000, to cover the cost of any cancellations due to COVID-19.
Knight said during the meeting that the Government’s confirmation that it was putting in place insurance for Phase One events was a clear admission of “severe market failure”.
The news came just hours after it was revealed that the 15,000-capacity Shambala festival has been postponed for a second year.
The Let LIVE Thrive campaign was founded late last year to draw attention to the fact that many of the UK’s major events, including festivals and sports competitions, will not be able to secure the insurance they need to plan events this year.