MPs have warned that major UK festivals such as Glastonbury may be prevented from taking place in 2021 unless their insurance is underwritten due to COVID-19.
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Speaking in the House of Commons, Julian Knight, the Conservative chairman of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee said: “The UK is the leader in the world in terms of music and arts festivals. The sector is worth £12 billion and supports many thousands of highly-skilled jobs as well as the financial lifeblood of the nation’s musicians.
“However, there will be no festival season next year unless insurance is underwritten in case of Covid disruption.
“Will the minister firstly meet with me and MPs from across this House to see how this reinsurance can be put in place, and does the minister recognise, noting her answer to the previous question, that with a minimum lead time of six months, the reinsurance needs to be in place now before the likes of Glastonbury commit?”
Culture minister Caroline Dinenage replied: “Festivals are such a vibrant and integral part of our creative community and our economy, and I am well aware that many will take decisions very soon about whether they can go ahead next year, so this is a very urgent situation.
“There is a sub group of my entertainment and events working group looking very specifically about how we can get festivals reopened and in the last few weeks I have met with representatives from festivals in Edinburgh and only yesterday from festivals on the Isle of Wight.”
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Backbench MP Theresa Villiers said: "Will the minister give serious consideration to Government support for an indemnity or insurance scheme so that they can make those decisions in the confidence that if there is a third wave, then their losses are going to be mitigated?"
Caroline Dinenage replied: "I'm well aware of the concerns and the challenges of securing insurance for live music events.
"It's something we're looking at very carefully but the key really is for the industry to build an evidence base that absolutely demonstrates insurance coverage is the only barrier to events taking place.”
Patrick Hinton is Mixmag's Digital Features Editor, follow him on TwitterRead this next: Get the best of Mixmag direct to your Facebook DMs