Steve Brine focused on the UK festivals sector – including our own Boomtown Fair - in an important speech in the House of Commons this afternoon.
The MP for Winchester and Chandler’s Ford, who is also a member of the DCMS Select Committee, has been advocating on behalf of festivals and the wider events industry since the pandemic kicked off in March of last year. The Select Committee is currently holding an inquiry into the sector.
Calling on the Government for support via round two of the Cultural Recovery Fund, and a much needed Government backed insurance scheme as happens in Germany, Steve said; “The risks to events taking place this year revolve around uncertainty (even with the roadmap), a lack of working capital and the ongoing absence of, much mentioned this afternoon, the insurance solution.
“This matters because it’s a massive, successful, vibrant, industry. There’s an estimated 975 festivals in the UK each year. The sector generates £1.76 billion for the UK economy every year. It supports some 85,000 jobs and according to UK Music over 5m people, our constituents, attended a festival in 2019, including me. Boomtown in my own constituency.”
Boomtown was cancelled in 2020 but has announced its return this year and has sold out for the event held at Matterley Bowl for 11-15 August.
Mr Brine went on to speak about the roadmap back to fulling operational festivals this Summer and focused heavily on the issue of insurance which is preventing many smaller events from going ahead.
He said; “A Government backed insurance scheme is essential to the festival industry. I appreciate insurance alone is not the sole barrier to kickstarting festivals but organisers can’t enter the usual planning cycle for 2021 without an insurance solution, it is the key that unlocks this process. I think it is unfortunate that we haven’t yet managed to persuade the Government of the case.”
Steve closed with various calls to action and reference to the successful BBC show That Peter Crouch Podcast which hold its own festival, Crouchfest, each Summer; “Let’s stick to the roadmap, let’s focus on the data and reward vaccine success – with some fun this summer - and with a fair wind we may even see the return of ‘Crouchfest’ and to borrow a phrase, that really would be back stronger.”
The clip was subsequently shared by Peter Crouch and within hours of the debate had been viewed over 100,000 times via Steve’s social media.