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‘Imperative’ Government continues to work with festival sector, says trade body

Festival organisers have mostly welcomed the Government-back insurance scheme (Jacob King/PA)
Festival organisers have mostly welcomed the Government-back insurance scheme (Jacob King/PA)

The Government must continue to work with music festivals as its events insurance scheme does not account for the reintroduction of social distancing rules, the boss of a festival trade body has said.

Paul Reed, CEO of the Association of Independent Festivals (AIF), was pleased the Government has introduced a new £750 million insurance scheme to support the live events sector.

But he warned the insurance does not cover events that are affected by a potential reintroduction of social distancing measures which limit their capacity.

Latitude Festival 2021 – Southwold
Latitude Festival (Jacob King/PA)

He said in a statement: “We are pleased that Government has listened, and we welcome this intervention to address the insurance market failure.

“It is positive that festival organisers will now have an option for Covid cancellation.

“The scheme doesn’t, however, cover a festival needing to reduce capacity or cancel due to social distancing restrictions being reintroduced, so it remains imperative that Government continues to work with the sector in areas such as Covid certification to try and avoid such an eventuality and ensure that organisers can plan with increased confidence for 2022.”

Greg Parmley, the chief executive of Live, which represents the interests of the live music business, also welcomed the announcement, saying he said his organisation has “been calling for since the start of the pandemic”.

“We look forward to working together over the coming weeks to determine the final shape of the policy and to ensure it can support the full return of the sector in the face of the most likely impacts of Covid.”

Download Festival 2021 – Donington Park
Download Festival (Joe Giddens/PA)

Phil Bowdery, chairman of the Concert Promoters Association, said that while the insurance scheme “won’t cover all our risk, this intervention will help protect the industry that we all know and love”.

“This is welcome news from DCMS. The sector has been calling out for Government to act for over a year and now we have something tangible,” he added.

The move was also welcomed by Julian Knight, chair of the DCMS Committee.

“It is really welcome that the Government has acted on a key recommendation from our inquiry into the future of UK music festivals,” he said.

“We have been calling on ministers to introduce this safety net since January.

“Though it is a shame that it has come too late for some this summer, this scheme will provide the confidence the sector needs to plan and invest in future events.”

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