The great British rock festival, which has multiplied from just a handful of annual events in the 1980s to dozens in recent years, was one of the first victims of the coronavirus pandemic lockdown last summer.
UK Music Festival organizers are canceling events this summer after the government refused to support COVID-19 cancellation insurance.
Despite the looming “irreversible” final lifting of the coronavirus lockdown on June 21, the Boomtown Festival, which normally takes place in Hampshire every August, has been canceled for the second year in a row for fear of liabilities, while Glastonbury is an online virtual festival was held.
The parliamentary committee on digital, culture, media and sport (DCMS) has asked Downing Street to reverse this decision.
“Music festivals have been treated as a bad relationship by the government,” said committee chairman Julian Knight, Conservative MP for Solihull. “Despite the enormous economic and cultural contribution they make, few have benefited from the Culture Restoration Fund and without our efforts the sector would have been excluded from the pilot event program for the safe return of the public.”
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Culture Minister Caroline Dinenage told the committee in March that the government would “much rather be able to make an announcement when I am absolutely certain that things can go” than give them false confidence in the compensation system, just to “pull the carpet out from below” again.
“It is a huge risk for any independent festival to commit to non-refundable up-front costs and it is very difficult to trust without insurance,” Paul Reed, executive director of the Association of Independent Festivals, told Sky News. “The average cost of running an independent festival is over £ 6 million.”
Reed said a recent survey by his organization found that 92.5 percent of members would not hold events without some form of government-covered insurance or liability insurance, calling it “vital, not optional.”
Other organizers are more optimistic, however, with the two Reading / Leeds festivals taking place on the August bank holiday weekend and the Isle of Wight festival in September. And Festival Republic is hosting a limited three-day edition of the 10,000-ticket download heavy metal festival next week on the Donington Park circuit – home of the original Monsters of Rock festival – headlined by Kiss, Biffy Clyro and System of a Down.