Stars issue insurance plea on live music kickstart

Some of the country’s biggest music stars have hit out at insurance firms as they called for the Government to step in and provide the cover they cannot get commercially.

As a new YouGov survey show that half of the UK population want to go to a live event this summer, and 75% believe live events are critical to British culture, stars have called for support to get the shows staged.  They added whilst recent news of mass ticket purchasing following the roadmap announcement is positive, it is even more critical for a government-backed insurance scheme to be in place to safeguard the industry.

The Who lead singer Roger Daltrey CBE explained:  “The music business and arts have been enormously affected by the Covid 19 virus, with the ongoing health issues plus the problems thrown up by the government’s essential decision to close our places of work.  The government however needs to understand how our industry functions.

“Promoters, especially those with festivals, bands and any touring acts have enormous outlays before a commencing a tour, so insurance for these costs is paramount.  Insurance companies will no longer cover these costs for COVID 19, which will render much of our business unviable as no promoter can risk setting up an event or tour without this cover.  All we ask of our government is to put in place an insurance policy that, in the event of this situation happening again, will cover these costs.

“As it may be 100 years to the next pandemic it is extremely unlikely that this will involve the government paying out any money, but this cover will allow our business to function as soon as it is safe for us to do so.”

Music industry experts say that Britain’s live music and events industry can get back to work tomorrow without the government spending one pound – as long as it pledges to meet costs arising from any future cancellations caused by COVID. By making this promise, HM Treasury can bridge the gap for COVID cancellation insurance and support the UK’s live entertainment industries.

Tim Thornhill, Director of broker Tysers’ Entertainment and Sport Division explained: “The government has successfully created a scheme that has enabled the film and television industries to get back to work. 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 live events industry is a massive employer and a significant generator of economic activity. Music alone employs over 200,000 people, with music tourism contributing £4.7 billion to the UK economy*. The new YouGov survey shows that demand is there – they will buy tickets and spend on accommodation, food and drink. The government can unlock this boost to the economy at no cost to themselves, just a commitment to help underwrite the cost of cancellations should they occur.”

Greg Parmley, CEO of music industry representative body LIVE added: “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. 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.”

Amy MacDonald commented: “When people attend a gig they buy a ticket, turn up and enjoy the show. What they don’t always understand is the months of preparation that went on behind the scenes to get to that particular point. Thousands of emails and phone calls, meetings, site visits and not to mention huge amounts of money spent to just get to a point where the tickets are on sale.

“Another important aspect of preparing for a show is the need to insure the event but it’s now impossible to get any insurance to cover these shows. As we have seen from the recent cancellation of Glastonbury, the live industry cannot even plan to start up again because it is too much of a risk without any insurance. The live industry has been put on hold for nearly a year and with no date for a return and no chance to even plan a return, the industry is facing near catastrophe without adequate government support. Nobody wants to live in a world without live music.”