Some 42 Conservative MPs have called on the prime minister to take urgent action and create a £250m events insurance scheme to save the summer festival season and help “turbocharge Britain’s economic recovery”.
Covid Recovery Group (CRG) chairman Mark Harper, representing a group of 42 Conservative MPs, has written to Boris Johnson appealing for him to help ensure live music events and festivals can go ahead this summer.
Meanwhile, umbrella industry organisation LIVE has also written to the PM suggesting some of the unspent Culture Recovery Fund (CRF) money be used to create a contingency fund to provide partial protection to event organisers against forced cancellation due to public health decisions.
The appeals follow the cancellation of festivals including Boomtown (cap. 66,000), Shambala (15,000), Bluedot (21,000), Download (85,000), BST Hyde Park (65,000), Junction 2 (12,000) and Glastonbury (147,000).
As reported in The Telegraph, the CRG said the live events industry does not require another lump sum from the Government, but instead requires “insurance against the political risk, however minimal, that the Government will impose restrictions on the industry and its customers after 21 June”.
The CRG said, “With the success of the vaccine rollout and as we head towards 21 June, it’s vital that ministers act now to ensure live music events and festivals can go ahead this summer by assuming contingent liabilities against cancellation and restrictions imposed by Government.”
The Group said that the scheme would save £1.1bn in costs to the industry while providing organisers with the confidence to go ahead and in so doing boosting Britain’s economic recovery.
In another letter to the prime minister, LIVE (Live music Industry, Venues & Entertainment), CEO Greg Parmley called on Government to make use of unspent CRF funding.
He said, “We estimate that there is around £400m of the almost £1.9bn fund yet to be allocated. Given that, we would like to formally propose that a material portion of the remaining fund is used to create a contingency scheme in order to stimulate economic activity in the summer and beyond. This could work by covering a proportion of an organiser’s costs if they were forced to cancel for Public Health grounds. Similar funds have already been announced in countries such as Germany, Denmark, Austria, the Netherlands, Belgium and Norway.
“As we emerge from the last year, there is simply no better or more efficient way to use CRF funds to drive money through the live music ecosystem – from artists and venues to technical staff and freelance crew – than to enable people to get people back to work. It would also be a very efficient use of public money as in an ideal scenario, where events happen as planned, much of it would be left unclaimed ready to underwrite further economic activity, which would provide a virtuous circle of work for people and tax receipts for the Government.”
The letter was countersigned by many senior figures in the industry including Festival Republic MD Melvin Benn, Concert Promoters Association chair Phil Bowdery, DF Concerts CEO Geoff Ellis, Kilimanjaro Live Group CEO Stuart Galbraith, National Outdoor Events Association CEO Susan Tanner, Association of Independent Festivals CEO Paul Reed, National Arena Association chair Lucy Noble and The Events Industry Forum secretary Jim Winship.