UK Government launches live music Covid insurance scheme

The UK governent has annoucned  a Covid insurance scheme for live music events cancelled by the pandemic.

A post from DCMS (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport) on the UK Government website carried the following quote which claims the insurance will cover events that have to be cancelled because of government restrictions around Covid.

“The pandemic is not over, but with a sufficiently high proportion of the population vaccinated, the country can learn to live with COVID-19 without the need for the strict economic and social restrictions. This scheme will support live events across the UK that are open to the general public – such as music festivals and business events. 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 live events sector is worth more than £70 billion annually to the economy and supports more than 700,000 jobs, including small businesses and the self-employed”.

Jamie Njoku-Goodwin, Chief Executive of UK Music commented:

“For months, UK Music has been warning about the catastrophic impact of the market failure in insurance for live events. The inability to obtain insurance has already caused many cancellations this summer – these have been devastating for the entire music industry and there were fears that without action we would have seen major cancellations continuing well into next year too”.

However Chris Smith, director of WOMAD said the policy has arrived too late for many festivals which have already been cancelled. He told The Guardian that the news was ‘too late for many organisations like ours who have lost the summer”.

The Assocaition of Independent Festivals (AIF) published a report earlier this year which claimed over half of UK festivals had been cancelled.

Paul Reed, CEO, Association of Independent Festivals says “AIF has campaigned for a Government-backed insurance scheme for festivals for over a year, from raising it as a headline issue with the DCMS Select Committee to working with DCMS colleagues and presenting detailed evidence and data to support the case. We are pleased that Government has listened, and we welcome this intervention to address the insurance market failure. It is positive that festival organisers will now have an option for Covid cancellation. The scheme doesn’t, however, cover a festival needing to reduce capacity or cancel due to social distancing restrictions being reintroduced, so it remains imperative that Government continues to work with the sector in areas such as Covid certification to try and avoid such an eventuality and ensure that organisers can plan with increased confidence for 2022.”

In related news, Kanye West’s recent concert allowed guests to get a vaccine on site as he premiered his new album Donda.

In the UK, acts such as Richard Ashcroft are pulling out of headline slots at festivals if a vaccine is a requirement to entry.