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UK government announce long-awaited COVID cancellation insurance scheme for live events

06 August 2021, 10:02 | Written by Cerys Kenneally

A government-backed COVID cancellation insurance scheme for live events has finally been announced by the UK government Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).

The long-awaited insurance scheme, which the DCMS has called the "Live Events Reinsurance Scheme", comes after persistent campaigning by festival organisers and organisations.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced the scheme yesterday (5 August), and confirmed that the government-backed insurance scheme, worth over £750 million, will launch next month (until September 2022), and will cover cancellation costs of live events if they are unable to go ahead due to government COVID restrictions.

The Live Events Reinsurance Scheme comes after the Association of Independent Festivals (AIF) estimated in June that 51% of UK festivals with a capacity of 5,000 and over have been cancelled in 2021.

The Chancellor said of the scheme, "The events sector supports hundreds of thousands of jobs across the country, and I know organisers are raring to go now that restrictions have been lifted. But the lack of the right kind of insurance is proving a problem, so as the economy reopens I want to do everything I can to help events providers and small businesses plan with confidence right through to next year."

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden added, "We’ve been here for live events throughout the pandemic with billions of pounds of rescue funding. Today is an important next step as we develop live events insurance to give them the confidence they need to plan for a brighter future."

In a statement, the CEO of AIF, Paul Reed wrote, "AIF has campaigned for a Government-backed insurance scheme for festivals for over a year, from raising it as a headline issue with the DCMS Select Committee to working with DCMS colleagues and presenting detailed evidence and data to support the case. We are pleased that Government has listened, and we welcome this intervention to address the insurance market failure. It is positive that festival organisers will now have an option for Covid cancellation. The scheme doesn’t, however, cover a festival needing to reduce capacity or cancel due to social distancing restrictions being reintroduced, so it remains imperative that Government continues to work with the sector in areas such as Covid certification to try and avoid such an eventuality and ensure that organisers can plan with increased confidence for 2022."

UK Music Chief Executive Jamie Njoku-Goodwin also shared a statement, writing that the scheme is "incredibly welcome news – not just for the millions of music fans who have been looking forward to the return of live events, but also for the tens of thousands of musicians, crew members and wider supply chain workers whose jobs depend on continued live activity." Njoku-Goodwin wrote that while they're "extremely grateful to Government for listening to the calls of the sector and delivering a solution", it is "crucial that Government avoids a return to enforced social distancing at events at all costs."

Visit to find out more information about the Live Evennts Reinsurance Scheme.
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