Earlier this week Harry Parslow, MD of Somerset-based entertainment production, support and tour management company TourLife, was interviewed for BBC Breakfast & BBC World News about how the Government’s existing support package is not enough to keep the live events industry afloat. Here he explains why the recently announced insurance scheme is not sufficient.
After 18 months of disruption and cancellations, the UK Government’s introduction of a Live Events Reinsurance scheme is welcome news. Worth an estimated £750 million, the scheme is designed to give events organisers the confidence to proceed with bookings by underwriting losses incurred due to Covid-19 related cancellations. With the scheme only set to run for a year from September 2021, however, it’s not hard to see why many believe it’s too little, too late.
While this programme may help festival and event organisers to plan ahead for 2022, it fails to address the challenges that have affected our industry for more than a year. A significant percentage of the so-called ‘3 million forgotten’ entrepreneurs, sole traders, and freelancers excluded from Covid support schemes work in entertainment. As other businesses have been propped up by central funds, they have fallen through the gaps and been left unsupported and uncertain of their future.
Figures released by the Association of Independent Festivals (AIF) show that around 51% of all major UK festivals were cancelled in 2021. That represents millions in lost revenues that could have been safeguarded by faster and more decisive action from the authorities. Perhaps more importantly, it also represents countless jobs (along with the skills and professionals that go with them) potentially missing from future events.
Although it’s fantastic to see the resurgence of live music and entertainment, this support scheme should have come six months ago. As the first industry to close and last to reopen, it is understandable that many of our colleagues feel forgotten.
With the organisation of events becoming more complex, holistic support services such as those offered by TourLife are set to become an even more central part of the industry. We stand ready to assist artists and organisers across the UK, but without more support, it’s hard to envisage the events industry – a pillar of the UK economy – continuing in its current form.