A host of musical performers have lent their voices to the call for the UK government to underwrite cancellation costs of live events such as music festivals.
The acts, which include Jools Holland, The Chemical Brothers, Depeche Mode, Johnny Marr, Sir Cliff Richard, Robert Plant, Roger Daltrey, Amy McDonald, Frank Turner and Judas Priest, say that the move will help restart the live entertainment industry this summer.
This follows a recent YouGov survey that found that half of the UK population want to go see a live event this summer, while 75% believe such events are an important part of British culture.
“Our business brings inspiration and happiness into people’s lives,” said Richard. “We can make them smile when they are sad and help them sing when they have nothing to sing about. We need the government to help us plan for when it is safe to resume.”
According to a statement by entertainment specialist brokerage Tysers, the music and live events industries can immediately resume business at no cost to the government, as long as it agrees to underwrite any future cancellations due to COVID-19. This, the brokerage said, will help bridge the gap for COVID-19 cancellation insurance and help revive the UK live entertainment industries.
Due to the lack of pandemic event cancellation coverage in the commercial market, the government should act as backstop to allow organisers to start booking venues and working with suppliers, it added.
“The government has successfully created a scheme that has enabled the film and television industries to get back to work,” said Tim Thornhill, director of Tysers’ entertainment and sport division. “Now they need to do the same for the live events industry. But the window of opportunity for this summer will slam shut very shortly. The government needs to act now.”
The brokerage is also working with live music industry umbrella organisation LIVE and other insurance industry members on this initiative.
“Governments in Germany, Austria, Norway, the Netherlands and elsewhere are already backing schemes to allow production companies and their staff to plan for a safe return to live events,” said Greg Parmley, LIVE’s CEO. “The UK rollout of the vaccine is cause for optimism in creating events that are safe but the industry will be significantly hampered without COVID event cancellation insurance.”