UK festivals issue “red alert” warning after “brick wall” in government insurance talks

Over a quarter of festivals have been cancelled already this year

04.05.21

Words by: Felicity Martin

The Association of Independent Festivals (AIF) say they have hit a “brick wall” in talks with the government after a lack of festival insurance sparked the widespread cancellation of events this summer.

Over a quarter of UK festivals over 5,000 capacity have now been cancelled, including Boomtown and 2000Trees, and the AIF has issued a “red alert” warning.

It states that up to 76 per cent of the remaining festivals planned for July and August could be forced to cancel if action is not taken and Covid-related cancellation insurance is not implemented.

AIF CEO Paul Reed said: “For months now, we have been warning Government that the UK’s 2021 festival season would be quickly eroded if they failed to back their own roadmap out of lockdown and act on Covid related cancellation insurance. That danger is now coming to pass, with over a quarter of festivals having cancelled already this year.

“It’s now red alert for the UK’s festival season. By the end of this month, 76% of the remaining festivals planned for 2021 could very quickly disappear from the calendar.

The news comes after a series of pilot events were held in Liverpool over the Bank holiday weekend without face masks or social distancing measures in place.

Reed added: “It is hugely positive that there was a festival pilot as part of the Events Research Programme last weekend, and this could be an important milestone in the safe return of festivals. But, 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.”

Earlier this year, the Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) warned that without government intervention, 2021 would see the ‘extinction’ of the majority of nightclubs.

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