For you, going to a music festival means buying a pass, travelling to the venue, spending on food and drink, and having a good time – and if the event doesn’t take place for some reason, you only lose out on the fun, not money. For the people organizing the festival, a cancelled event means way more money to be lost: down payments for the grounds, for performers, for staff, a ton of advertising cost, and much more. Not to mention the refunds to those who have paid for their passes in advance. Last year, pretty much every major festival and concert around the world was cancelled, and this has left organizers in a pretty sensitive situation. Another year of such losses may be too much for some of them to survive – without the help of their respective governments, that is.
A massive business
The UK is one of the countries with some of the most famous music festivals in the world – it has Glastonbury, Reading & Leeds, NASS, SW4… the list could go on and on. All these live events contribute over $2.5 billion to the British economy. Or they did in 2019, because in 2020, the vast majority were cancelled.
Aside from the brand new Deadmau5 slot machine that joined the ranks of hundreds of other online casino games at Betway was the closest we got to an actual live event. As opposed to the several music events held inside Fortnite (the video game), these slots were at hand whenever you needed them, providing a bit of relief to those craving for a live music experience.
Many festival organizers were left in a very sensitive situation because of their lost revenue in 2020. And things are still uncertain for 2021 – while most events are preparing for their upcoming edition, they still have to prepare for the worst. For some of them, this is still a risk too high to take.
Insurance and funds
The UK government is preparing to help the events industry this year with a government-backed insurance scheme that would allow festivals to plan ahead and have a safety net to turn to in the case an unforeseen event makes it impossible for the festivals to be held. The insurance would be similar to what the UK government provides in the case of a terrorist attack, helping festivals withstand the ill effects of a major adverse event like the resurgence of the pandemic and potential lockdowns – these can indeed happen even with the country’s advances in vaccination.
Germany has already taken a step to help its massive live events industry, a UK government representative said in a radio interview. According to him, the German government has earmarked $3 billion to cover cancellation costs and to make venues as COVID-safe as possible.
Taking a plunge
Some festivals, in turn, have taken the risk to go ahead with their 2021 events even before a safety net is established in the UK. While Download and Glastonbury, two of the country’s most famous festivals are not going to be held this year, others like Latitude, and Reading and Leeds have already announced their plans – and the first additions to their lineups. Others are more cautious: some, like All Points East, have rescheduled for later in the year, while others, like Big Weekend and The Great Escape, have decided to go with an online-only event.
One thing is for sure: both the organizers of the events and the attendees are hopeful of returning to at least some degree of normal with this year’s summer festival season in the UK and abroad.
This story is sponsored by Lihet.