UK music festivals and other live events will be protected by a government-backed insurance scheme if they are forced to cancel because of Covid.
Many event organisers have campaigned for a scheme guaranteed by the state that would allow them to plan events without risking financial ruin.
The government announced it has partnered with Lloyd's to deliver a new Live Events Reinsurance Scheme, which will be available from next month and run until the end of September 2022.
The Treasury said: ‘This scheme will support live events across the UK that are open to the general public. It will cover costs incurred in the event of cancellation due to the event being legally unable to happen due to government Covid restrictions.’
Jamie Njoku-Goodwin, chief executive, UK Music, said: ‘We are extremely grateful to government for listening to the calls of the sector and delivering a solution to the market failure in the insurance industry.
‘The inability to obtain insurance has already caused many cancellations this summer – these have been devastating for the entire music industry and there were fears that without action we would have seen major cancellations continuing well into next year too.’
Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden called it ‘an important next step’ for the live events sector, and said it would give organisers ‘the confidence they need to plan for a brighter future.’
Andrea Czapary Martin, chief executive, PRS for Music, said: ‘PRS and the wider industry have consistently called on government to provide an insurance scheme to give the certainty live music events and festivals need to reopen. We welcome yesterday’s announcement of a £750 million scheme, although it does not address all of the challenges the sector is facing it will support the return to live for more festivals and gigs, which is something we all want to see.’
Labour's shadow culture secretary Jo Stevens criticised the scheme, saying it was the ‘bare minimum.’
She said the scheme was limited to covering a lockdown and would not apply to scenarios like the reintroduction of social distancing or artists and crews having to self-isolate.