Kilimanjaro Live CEO Stuart Galbraith, promoter of the first full-capacity concerts to return at The O2 arena this week, has aired his frustration at the limitations of the recently announced government-backed insurance scheme.

Speaking to Access, Galbraith, who is also the Concert Promoters Association vice-chairman, said, “We’ve still got to look at the detail of it, but DCMS announced the scheme pretty much without any consultation with the industry at all. This is very disappointing because we’ve been lobbying and trying to get into detailed discussion with them for over a year.

“I think it will get some take up but it is certainly not going to provide a panacea to enable all the shows to come back that would have come back.

“The full details of the scheme has not been published, it starts in September and we’re looking forward to understanding how it works and also being very clear on the areas that it won’t provide cover for.”

On the areas that the scheme won’t provide protection for, Galbraith said, “What is the point of having an insurance scheme that is essentially to enable you to run shows and protect against Covid, if it doesn’t cover the artists getting the disease?”

Reacting to the news that promoters have to pay a premium equating to 5% of show costs, Galbraith said, “I don’t think anyone is afraid of paying a sensible premium, and I think 5% is okay, but it’s got to be a policy that is fit for purpose and if social distancing issues and key man cover are not part of the policy, you have to question if it’s actually going to have any use.”

Galbraith said his company, which promotes tours by numerous major acts including Ed Sheeran and festivals such as Scotland’s 16,500-capacity Belladrum Tartan Heart Festival, has encountered supply chain issues this summer and is likely to do so over the next few weeks: “We’re experiencing supply issues with anything from toilets through to security. There are so many events that are now squashed into the end of Summer, plus there are many people who have left the industry because they have not been able to survive. So I think that’s going to be a real issue for the next few months but hopefully it will resolve itself as we progress and we start to return to normality.”

Kilimanjaro was behind the free-to-attend Gorillaz show exclusively for NHS workers at The O2 Arena on 10 August, which saw Damon Albarn perform with the likes of Robert Smith, Shaun Ryder, Slowthai, Peter Hook, Little Simz and AJ Tracey. The concert marked the first full-capacity show at the arena in more than 500 days and the band returns tonight, 11 August, for a sold-out gig.

Speaking before the first show, Galbraith said, “We would very much have preferred not to be the first shows back, we would have liked to have seen them running there for the last several weeks if not months but it is hugely exciting to think that we are seeing over 17,000 people there for both gigs.

“I’m very proud that we’re able to host 17,000 NHS workers tonight and show our appreciation for everything they’ve done in the last two years.”

When asked about his perception of customer sentiment and ticket buying patterns he said, “I think customer confidence is returning very quickly, but in the last few weeks while the Delta variant has raged and government was encouraging people to get vaccinated we certainly saw ticket sales dip. Prior to that ticket sales were increasing.

“Certainly, younger audiences have been buying tickets throughout but what’s very pleasing in the last couple weeks is we’re now seeing ticket sales pick up across the board. While we’ve certainly got a long way to go until we get the market back to normal, we’re now on the right track.”