Parliament's DCMS Select Committee has published a report into the future of UK music festivals which finds the sector faces another ‘lost summer’ directly as a result of the Government’s refusal to back insurance for events at risk of cancellation due to Covid-19 restrictions.
It calls on Ministers to act now by providing a safety net for live events scheduled to take place after 21 June by introducing a time-limited insurance scheme.
The Government has ruled out offering any support before all restrictions on the roadmap are lifted which would be simply be too late for festivals this summer, say MPs on the committee which includes local MP Steve Brine.
Steve's Winchester constituency contains the hugely popular BOOMTOWN festival which has cancelled for a second year running.
The failure by Ministers to accommodate long lead times involved in delivering large-scale events comes despite consistent and repeated calls by the Committee on the Treasury to provide support that would enable planning to go ahead.
However, MPs express caution on whether the Government’s roadmap will enable festivals to go ahead this summer, raising doubts about the scope of the Government’s Events Research Programme and uncertainty over the spread of new Covid-19 variants.
Steve said; “Music festivals have been treated as the poor relation by the Government. Despite the huge economic and cultural contribution they make, few have benefited from the Culture Recovery Fund, and without our efforts the sector would have been left out of the pilot events programme on the safe return of audiences.
“It has been made very clear to us that the vast majority of music festivals do not have the financial resilience to cover the costs of another year of late-notice cancellations. If the commercial insurance market won’t step in, Ministers must, and urgently: events need to know now whether the Government will back them, or they simply won’t take place this year.
“We repeat our call for the Government to announce an insurance scheme to cover festival organisers if events need to be cancelled as a result of Covid-19 restrictions continuing beyond 21 June. There’s still time to get the music playing, but no more room for excuses.”
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