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Glastonbury organisers request government support for coronavirus insurance

Festivals may face bankruptcy if they are forced to cancel again in 2021

The organisers of Glastonbury Festival have called for “direct financial support” from the government amid ongoing difficulties in obtaining live events cancellation insurance for next summer’s event.

While many UK festivals and live events are hoping to return in 2021 following the rollout of a coronavirus vaccine, commercial insurance companies are reluctant to agree to contingency cover after paying out hundreds of millions for live events cancellations this year.

However, without sufficient insurance, event organisers have warned that they may risk devastating financial losses or bankruptcy if they festivals are forced to cancel again in 2021— but the clock is ticking for plans to be put in place. 

Speaking to The Times, Glastonbury organiser Emily Eavis said: “In a usual planning cycle we would already be well into organising the next festival.

“The best solution would be for the government to offer direct financial support in the event of Glastonbury, and other events, being forced to cancel once they’re well into the preparations.

“If the government can share the risk by offering direct financial support, then it gives everyone the opportunity to move forward with the planning in the hope that things will be safe to run in the summer, and in the knowledge that backing is available if we’re simply not in a position to go ahead,” she added.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport said: “We know these are challenging times for the live events sector and are working flat out to support it. We have invested £1billion so far through the culture recovery fund to protect tens of thousands of creative jobs... with £400m more support still to come.”

While Eavis and Glastonbury's lawyer, Ben Challis, both hope that plans for Glastonbury 2021 will go ahead — with deposits from 135,000 people already rolled over from 2020 — very few details have been confirmed.

The plea for urgent financial support from festival organisers follows a warning from MPs in the House of Commons that major UK music festivals including Glastonbury may be prevented from taking place in 2021, unless their insurance is underwritten due to COVID-19.