UK government must give the live music sector a “restart date”, report says

The report calls on MPs to support a Covid insurance fund to allow organisers to plan ahead

05.01.21

Words by: Billy Ward

UK Music have shared a new report, Let The Music Play: Save Our Summer 2021, outlining a range of measures needed to get the industry back on its feet.

It asks MPs to provide a “restart date” for when gigs can return after months of cancellations, as well as stressing the importance of introducing Covid-19 cancellation insurance for live events, and to extend a VAT cut on concert tickets.

While the rollout of coronavirus vaccinations has bolstered hopes of a return to live music by spring 2021, it’s still unclear whether festivals and gigs will be able to go ahead as planned this summer. Glastonbury organisers Emily and Michael Eavis have said “it’s already getting tight” to prepare for this year’s festival because insurers are reluctant to provide cancellation cover.

In a statement, UK Music said there is “no certainty” about when events can restart, adding: “An indicative date for the reopening of venues for non-socially distanced performance is vital to allow the sector to be able to plan and prepare for the return of large-scale events.”

It also highlights the ability for organisers to secure insurance as a “major barrier to the scheduling of events”, calling on the government to introduce measures similar to the £500 million Restart Scheme unveiled for the film and television industry in July, which compensates companies for financial losses due to projects being delayed or abandoned because of Covid-19.

UK Music chief executive Jamie Njoku-Goodwin said: “While this pandemic is still raging and continues to cause devastation to lives and livelihoods today, there is an endpoint in sight.

“In this report, UK Music is putting forward a clear plan for recovery: what we need to do to get the live performance sector back up on its feet again in 2021.

“But the clock is ticking, and any day soon we could see major festivals and events start pulling the plug for lack of certainty”, he added.

Last month, Primavera Sound carried out a successful trial while investigating the possibility of hosting live music events without social distancing measures in place. Utilising a rapid 15 minute Covid testing service, the trial validated the tests as a useful tool in opening up the live events industry once again.

An inquiry into the the viability of festivals this summer is taking place in Parliament on Tuesday January 5.

Access the full UK Music report here.

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