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More than a quarter of UK music festivals cancelled due to lack of insurance

A further 76% of remaining festivals are expected to cancel ‘imminently’

  • Words: Gemma Ross | Photo: Garry Jones
  • 5 May 2021
More than a quarter of UK music festivals cancelled due to lack of insurance

A new study shows that 26% of UK festivals with a capacity above 5,000 have been cancelled this year due to a lack of government-backed insurance amid the pandemic.

The UK government have so far failed to provide insurance for large scale events, meaning many are now uncertain over their future with the pandemic still ongoing and lockdown restrictions potentially remaining in place.

Read this next: Last chance for government-backed insurance before raft of festival cancellations, warns AIF

A further 76% of events that are still planned to go ahead now have fears of cancellation if a strategy for government-backed insurance is not reviewed.

The Association of Independent Festivals (AIF) has been researching UK festivals during the past 12 months, finding that almost three quarters of organisers will require financial support in 2022 if their events cannot take place this year.


Chief Executive of AIF, Paul Reed, stated: “Without a safety net, independent promoters cannot begin to confidently invest in their events. They currently have no protection should a Covid-related issue result in the cancellation of their festival. If government-backed insurance is off the table, festival organisers deserve to know what government proposes as an alternative to prevent the widespread collapse of the festival season.”

Read this next: Boris Johnson says there will be no need for lockdown restrictions from June 21

Since the cancellation of festivals such as Glastonbury, Boomtown (pictured) and Shambala, more than £34 million has been disbursed from an ‘unprecedented’ Culture Recovery Fund, according to a spokesperson from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

The entertainment sector is one of the most beneficial to the UK economy, with an estimated £9 billion to be brought in from festivals and large scale events if they are able to go ahead this year. Insurance for all UK festivals could cost as little as £250 million.

Read this next: Review: The UK's first club night back was an ecstatic reminder of pre-pandemic life

Pilot events are now beginning to take place across the country which could see a dramatic shift in the way this years festival circuit runs. Last weekend, three music events were held in Liverpool across Friday to Sunday with more than 3,000 in attendance each day, and no social distancing required. Results from the government-run programme will return this month from both events.

[Via: Guardian]

Gemma Ross is Mixmag's Digital Intern, follow her on Twitter

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