(Credit: Leeds Festival)

Government won’t look at festival insurance until the end of lockdown, says culture secretary

The Culture Secretary, Oliver Dowden, has revealed that the government will wait until the end of the lockdown before examining the viability of festival insurance.

As it stands, insurance companies are refusing to cover festivals if they cancel due to coronavirus. Therefore, festivals are risking everything if another wave of the virus forces them to cancel the event and even go bankrupt.

The lack of insurance has stopped over a quarter of UK festivals with a capacity of over 5,000 is not going ahead this summer. During the most recent DCMSC committee, Conservative MP Heather Wheeler asked Dowden about an update regarding insurance.

Dowden responded by stating we are currently “well on track” to reach ‘stage four’ of lockdown restrictions lifting on June 21. He added that after reaching stage four, they would then “look at” if assistance was still needed for music festivals.

“It has to be the case first that we know [if] something can go ahead,” he said, before adding later: “I don’t think it’s reasonable to expect the taxpayer to provide a full indemnity for all those events if it’s not possible for them to happen.”

Wheeler then told Dowden that it would be too late for organisers to get an event scheduled for this summer by the time lockdown restrictions were lifted.

“This would have been a very cheap deal to have been done, because the government are confident that June 21 is D-Day… in which case, you didn’t need to spend any money on insurance,” Wheeler told Dowden. “But it’s too late for the planning for so many of these summer festivals. It’s just too late.”

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