Speaking at the Association of Organisers Conference on Saturday, 20 February, UK Music Chief Executive Jamie Njoku-Goodwin outlined how festivals can play key role in the post-pandemic economic and cultural recovery but the right support was key, including a government-backed insurance scheme.
Njoku-Goodwin said that as long as the festival industry is unable to operate viably, Government must provide it with adequate economic support: “A government-backed insurance scheme is critical – the risks of putting on events during a pandemic means that without it, many festivals will not have the confidence to go ahead this year.
“In recent months, a whole host of European countries have introduced funds to cover the cancellation costs of events. With other countries acting to protect their events industries, it is vital that the UK does not get left behind.”
He said that in addition to insurance, Government should also help recapitalise festivals and remove cost burdens: “Policies like the VAT rate reduction were welcome last year, but the restrictions on events meant we were unable to take advantage of them.
“They should be extended for their full benefit to be realised. And as long as we are not allowed to operate viably as sector, then the Government must provide us with adequate economic support to keep us going until we can generate our own revenue once again.”
The UK Music chief said the Culture Recovery Fund had provided a lifeline for many festivals and organisations across the sector but it will have been for nothing if those businesses and organisations are allowed to collapse.
He said, “Covid-19 has devastated the whole live events sector, but that devastation does not have to be permanent.
“We were a growing and thriving industry before the pandemic hit, and with the right support we can be that successful and self-reliant industry once again.”