AEG Europe chief operating officer John Langford (pictured) said the events industry has won the backing of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) in its efforts to secure a Government-backed event cancellation insurance scheme to enable the industry to plan for 2021.

Speaking on a panel, moderated by Access, at the Host City conference today, 9 December, Langford said that without a Government-backed insurance scheme, the events industry will not be able to open effectively: “There is still so much risk around the Covid pandemic, with events being rescheduled or cancelled again and the commercial insurance industry not covering those things.

“We are calling on Government to support a re-insurance programme and we are making progress – we have buy-in from DCMS. The challenge is we need to get around the table with Treasury, and there are lots of demands on Treasury at the moment.”

Langford – whose company owns venues such as the 20,000-capacity Staples Centre in Los Angles and London’s The O2 arena (cap, 23,000), as well as festivals including Coachella (126,000) – added, “We have been working closely with DCMS and putting some case methods together and evidence regarding commercial insurance. That is with Treasury at the moment. Meanwhile, the lobbying efforts continue.”

Langford’s comments follow the recent announcement that the German federal government has created a €2.5 billion event cancellation fund to cover the cancellation costs of events planned for the second half of 2021 that are unable to go ahead due to Covid-19.

Calls for a Government-backed events cancellation insurance scheme have increased in recent weeks, with leading figures such as veteran promoter Harvey Goldsmith, Festival Republic MD Melvin Benn and London Marathon event director Hugh Brasher, as well as BPI CEO Geoff Taylor, among the many pushing for it.