Organisers of the Irish festival Electric Picnic were unable to secure insurance to cover the 2021 event over the possibility of it being cancelled.
The result means that organisers Festival Republic (controlled by Live Nation) are out of pocket, as insurers decided that the 2021 event could not be protected as they would not offer pandemic cover.
Despite this setback, Festival Republic did receive an initial COVID-related insurance payout of £13.27m (€15.52m/$18m) for the postponement of the 2020 event along with other shows. Denis Desmond, the managing director of MCD Productions, said this was covered by a global Live Nation insurance policy.
Desmond is a director and co-owner of Festival Republic through LN Gaiety Investments.
“We were in the lucky position that we had COVID insurance,” he told the Irish Examiner.
Festival Republic also operates the Leeds and Reading music festivals in England.
Organisers were hoping to run Electric Picnic in September, but local authority Laois County Council refused to grant a license to hold the event, citing public health advice from the Health Service Executive (HSE).
Festival Republic’s revenues may have plummeted by 98.7% from £56.42m to £732,681 last year, but the company recorded a pre-tax profit of £8.42m after other income was made up of the insurance payout of £13.27m and £738,862 in Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme payments from the UK Government.
Desmond told The Irish Times: “We had a very, very good summer festival-wise in the UK. I am hopeful that we will reopen at full capacity in Ireland – it is phenomenal that we had a 90% take-up on the vaccines here.
“You look at the rest of the world – at the UK, at the US – they are open for business and I sincerely hope that our industry reopens at full capacity from October 22.
“We are looking forward to getting back to work in Ireland. It is now 532 days since we have done a concert in Ireland at full capacity.”