Why all festivals could be cancelled in 2021

All festivals could be cancelled this year after the government revealed it had no intention to underwrite live music events.

In a letter to Lib Dem MPs Caroline Dinenage, Minister of State for Digital and Culture, confirmed that the government was not considering insurance intervention.

She said that ministers were not convinced it was the “right vehicle of support for the event sector nor that this is the right time to consider it”.

Glastonbury was cancelled for a second year running on Thursday after encountering a range of problems, including the inability to get insured because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Many festivals will face a similar problem and without help from the government may be forced to cancel.

Mr Stone pleaded with the Government to underwrite contingency insurance for live events back in December 2020. He argued in his letter that support for the cultural industry would help revive local economies after lockdown and protect the cultural talent pool.

His motion in Parliament calling for this action has also received support from SNP, Labour, Conservatives, Green, and Plaid Cymru.

Ms Dinenage’s response comes at a time where live performance has been on lockdown since March 2020 – the industry is worth an estimated £100bn and sustains 600,000 jobs.

Mr Stone is asking for people to share evidence with him through an online portal on his website so that he can relay the collected testimonies as formal evidence to the Culture Secretary.

After receiving the Government’s response, Jamie Stone MP commented: “This could effectively make it impossible for any music festivals to go ahead in 2020.

Jamie Stone

“The Government clearly has no regard for the creative arts industries in this country. First, they destroy artists’ opportunity to tour in Europe and now they refuse to support artists wanting to put on live events here in the UK.

“To say that there is no evidence of the need support is the Government blatantly turning a blind eye to what everybody can see.

“The industry is on its knees – they can’t get the insurance they need because the threat of coronavirus outbreak is too high. This is a failure of Government policy – had a better COVID strategy been developed then they wouldn’t be in such deep waters.

“Many people were dreaming of the day we will be able to enjoy live music again. The Government must step in and take action to save our live events industry, otherwise, we face a cultural calamity.”

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