The UK Government has announced that UK festivals are set to be covered by £750 million insurance scheme.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced the Live Events Reinsurance scheme, which is a partnership with Lloyd's bank, earlier this week. Speaking about the new scheme, the Treasury said: "This scheme will support live events across the UK that are open to the general public. It will cover costs incurred in the event of cancellation due to the event being legally unable to happen due to government Covid restrictions.”
The announcement of the Live Events Reinsurance scheme has been welcomed by industry figures such as Jamie Njoku-Goodwin of UK Music, who said that "there were fears that without action we would have seen major cancellations continuing well into next year”. Paul Reid, the chief executive of the Association of Independent Festivals (AIF) added that the news was "positive that festival organisers will now have an option for Covid cancellation.”
Elsewhere, the plan was slammed by government figures. Julian Knight, the Conservative chair of the DCMS said that it was "a shame" that the scheme had been introduced "too late for some this summer." In June, the AIF reported that 51% of events with capacities of 5000 and over had pulled their dates for the summer 2021 festival season. A further 22% of respondents said they were "unsure" as to whether they could proceed. Back in April, Boomtown Fair cancelled its 2021 event, citing a lack of insurance support from the UK government, and Glastonbury, who were among the most vocal forces calling for UK government support with coronavirus insurance to help protect against cancellations and postponements this summer, were forced to officially cancel this year's event.
Culture secretary Oliver Dowden had previously said that the UK Government would not consider festival insurance until lockdown had ended. "It has to be the case first that we know something can go ahead," he said at a Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) committee meeting in May. "I don't think it's reasonable to expect the taxpayer to provide a full indemnity for all the events if it's not possible for them to happen."