Last week, British MPs warned that festivals may not resume in 2021 due to COVID-19 without underwritten insurance. The organizers of Somerset gathering Glastonbury Festival have now asked for lawmaker aid due to the difficulties obtaining such protection.
The World Health Organization declared the novel coronavirus a pandemic in early March, triggering a festival crash as new health restrictions were imposed. Between rapid testing and newly approved vaccines the 2021 season shows more promise – but in case further complications arise, MPs have said that “there will be no festival season next year” without proper coverage. Insurance companies are leery of underwriting events after paying out staggering sums in 2020, however.
“In a usual planning cycle we would already be well into organizing the next festival,” said Emily Eavis, the daughter and co-organizer of Glastonbury Founder Michael Eavis. “The best solution would be for the government to offer direct financial support in the event of Glastonbury, and other events, being forced to cancel once they’re well into the preparations.”
She continued: “If the government can share the risk by offering direct financial support, then it gives everyone the opportunity to move forward with the planning in the hope that things will be safe to run in the summer, and in the knowledge that backing is available if we’re simply not in a position to go ahead.”
Eavis had previously shared a hopeful outlook for the 2021 festival, tweeting that “we’re still very much aiming for June.” Only a month prior, though, her father had called it “wishful thinking” to expect that the event would move forward as planned.
“We know these are challenging times for the live events sector and are working flat out to support it,” wrote the Department for Digital Media, Culture and Sport in a statement. “We have invested £1 billion so far through the culture recovery fund to protect tens of thousands of creative jobs… with £400 million more support still to come.”
135,000 Glastonbury Festival attendee ticket deposits have rolled over from the canceled 2020 event. The festival’s organizers have yet to formally announce the 2021 edition at the time of writing.