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UK Coalition Asks Government to Provide Insurance Backstop for Live Music Festivals

Coverage could be extended to a range of sectors, including hospitality, sports and leisure.
  • Timothy Darragh
  • February 2021
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A coalition of U.K. members of Parliament and music and entertainment groups are asking the government to keep financially battered summer music festivals alive by providing an insurance backstop for them.

In a letter to Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak, members of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee said insurance cover in the age of COVID-19 is necessary to provide confidence that the summer live music season can be held.

“Without insurance, the events we know and love simply won't take place this year—vaccine or no vaccine,” said the letter, signed by nine committee members and dozens of entertainment organizations and performers. “Sustaining losses like those we've seen in 2020 for another year isn't an option, and hundreds of businesses in the events supply chain have already been forced to fold.

“The government has backed insurance for the film and television industry to the tune of £500 million ($677.8 million),” they said. “It's now time to do this for other creative industries.”

The insurance scheme could use the existing terrorism reinsurance structure, which would require no upfront funding and leave Treasury with a maximum liability of £1.5 billion, it said. Coverage could be extended to a range of sectors, including hospitality, sports and leisure, as well as festivals, live performances and events, it said.

The letter follows the release of a report, Let The Music Play: Save Our Summer, from U.K. Music, an umbrella group representing a wide range of organizations and performers.

In the report, Executive Director Jamie Njoku-Goodwin said the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic had a “devastating” impact on the live music industry, which contributed £1.3 billion directly to the economy in 2019. “An indicative date for restart and a government insurance scheme are vital. Without them, many major festivals will not have the confidence or the preparation time to go ahead this year,” he said.

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