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Pressure grows for UK Gov to back event cancellation scheme

2nd March 2021 - Author: Matt Sheehan

Performers, music industry bodies, and re/insurers are renewing their calls for the UK Government to underwrite cancellation costs of events such as music festivals and tours, to enable the restart of the live entertainment sector from this summer.

Their calls come as a new YouGov survey shows that half of the UK population want to go to a live event this summer, while 75% believe live events are critical to British culture.

But COVID cancellation insurance is no longer available in the commercial insurance market and is not expected to return for some time.

In the interim, commentators say it can only be provided by the government acting as a backstop to give event organisers the confidence they need to start booking venues and working with suppliers.

Tysers is among those working with live music industry umbrella organisation LIVE and insurance industry colleagues to urge the government to work with industry to find a solution.

Tim Thornhill commented: “The government has successfully created a scheme that has enabled the film and television industries to get back to work. Now they need to do the same for the live events industry. But the window of opportunity for this summer will slam shut very shortly. The government needs to act now,” said Tim Thornhill, Director of Tysers Entertainment and Sport Division.

“The live events industry is a massive employer and a significant generator of economic activity. Music alone employs over 200,000 people, with music tourism contributing £4.7bn to the UK economy,” Thornhill continued.

“The new YouGov survey shows that demand is there – they will buy tickets and spend on accommodation, food and drink. The government can unlock this boost to the economy at no cost to themselves, just a commitment to help underwrite the cost of cancellations should they occur.”

Greg Parmley, CEO of LIVE added: “Governments in Germany, Austria, Norway, the Netherlands and elsewhere are already backing schemes to allow production companies and their staff to plan for a safe return to live events. The UK rollout of the vaccine is cause for optimism in creating events that are safe but the industry will be significantly hampered without COVID event cancellation insurance.”

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