UK culture secretary Oliver Dowden has ruled out the possibility of a government-backed event cancellation insurance scheme before June 21, at which point lockdown restrictions are expected to lift entirely.
According to reports from The Independent, Dowden was speaking at a DCMSC committee meeting when Conservative MP Heather Wheeler asked for an update on the matter.
However, Dowden claimed it would be unreasonable to expect the taxpayer to provide full indemnity to festivals until the potential risk can be properly assessed, drawing a line under organisers’ hopes of offloading what in the worse case scenario could amount to many millions of pounds in losses.
“It has to be the case first that we know [if] something can go ahead,” he said.
However, Wheeler noted how this would likely be “all too late” for organisers due to the months of planning required for festivals to take place.
The Independent’s report notes how a recent show more than a quarter of UK music festivals have cancelled over insurance fears.
The organisers of Boomtown, a 66,000 capacity annual festival that recently announced its decision to postpone until 2022, was particularly critical over the lack of Covid-specific insurance from the government.
It is however unclear the extent to which holding a large-scale festival so soon after lockdown is logistically viable, and whether a differing consensus from the wider public could be preventing action from the government.