MPs want government to help festivals with insurance support - Chris Markland

Chris Markland Tour Manager

Chris Markland Tour Manager 

Tour Manager Chris Markland writes:

It is very welcome news that the Government are finally going to discuss the provision of festival Insurance this week.

Without a festival season this year, it is no exaggeration to say, that the live music industry as we know it, in the UK, is over.

Festival organisers, already reeling from a year with no income cannot be expected to gamble, whatever finance they have left, on the off chance that Covid restrictions will not be reintroduced, and the events are not allowed to go ahead. The planning of these large-scale productions takes months to put in place and the up-front financial commitment is substantial. A last-minute cancellation would leave them faced with unrecoverable costs.

Therefore, it is IMPERATIVE that MPs of ALL parties get behind this scheme to prevent catastrophic job losses from affecting an already stricken industry. Such schemes are already in place in Germany, France and the Netherlands as they try to restart a section of the economy that contributes so much income to the country.

photo credit Jason Bryant

photo credit Jason Bryant

As previously mentioned, this is not for the high-profile artists, who often have other streams of finance. It’s for the thousands of crew, technicians, supply companies involved. It’s for the economies of the local areas who benefit from a festival taking place in the proximity. It’s for the thousands of casual employees who use this income. The students to supplement grants and the low paid to boost their earnings.

Football is being helped, even though they are largely funded through broadcast revenue, with The Euros being touted to be at full capacity (in a bid no doubt to secure the event for the UK) However no such help was offered to Glastonbury in any sort of attempt to secure an equally iconic and world-renowned spectacle. We are NOT being told festivals and events can go ahead at full capacity, now what is the difference we would like to know?

Without full capacity many events are not viable and so even if rules are eased the effect is still the same…no festival.

Is it that the music industry is an easy target, in that most people are unaware of the knock-on effect that such restrictions bring and that by keeping us under the cosh it appears that the Government are taking precautions whilst not risking the populist vote by cancelling The Euros?

With the news of further lockdowns in Europe its even more important to put this scheme in place as with the fiasco of the Brexit rules on foreign artists and likely Covid restrictions further affecting travelling abroad then The UK becomes our ONLY marketplace.

As with the rest of the Hospitality industries, public confidence needs to be rebuilt and press hysteria about new strains and infection rates need to be avoided. By all means report the facts but in a balanced and truthful way. We have been the 1st Industries shut down and are going to be the last to be allowed to reopen. There is no science for this, just pandering to public opinion.

Chris.

 

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1 comment

  • Yesterday there was a commons debate about festival insurance.

    “Responding for the Government, @cj_dinenage said:

    🚧@DCMS are investigating the barriers to venues safely reopening and performances returning.

    💷But the decision on an insurance package rests with @RishiSunak and @hmtreasury.”

    So instead of a treasury spokesperson, the government wheeled out Ms Dinenage who at the end of it all said it was a treasury decision.

    Why? What’s the point in this other than to avoid the question & waste time!

    Festivals are thrown under £350m bus

    Tim Brennan

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