Live music industry bodies call for government-backed COVID cancellation insurance scheme

"Without a scheme like this it is going to be a very quiet and sad summer"

A host of Australian live music industry bodies have called on the Federal Government for a government-backed insurance scheme for events cancelled due to COVID-19.

Live Performance Australia, APRA AMCOS, ARIA, PPCA, Live Entertainment Industry Forum and the Australian Festival Association issued a statement to the Federal Government yesterday (August 6), requesting the introduction of insurance policies similar to those recently implemented in the UK.

The UK initiative – dubbed the Live Events Reinsurance Scheme – was announced as a partnership between the UK Government and insurance firm Lloyd’s of London. It budgets £750million to cover cancellation costs for event organisers if they are legally unable to proceed due to government restrictions, such as snap lockdowns.

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Similar government-backed insurance and business interruption funds have already been established in a number of other European countries, including Germany, Austria, Netherlands, Belgium, Norway, Denmark and Estonia.

“The UK Government-backed scheme is a template for Australia’s Commonwealth, State and Territory Governments to provide much-needed confidence to our live music industry following waves of cancellations and lost revenue,” said ARIA and PPCA CEO Annabelle Herd.

“We need the confidence that this provides. Without a scheme like this it is going to be a very quiet and sad summer.”

“What our industry needs urgently is the confidence to plan and invest in future live events,” added APRA AMCOS CEO Dean Ormston.

“The UK government’s partnership with the insurance market and the live events industry does exactly that. Our proposal is for a similar scheme that will ensure the industry moves from the current position of crisis, to one of building capacity and delivering great events as we emerge from COVID.”

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Australia’s live music sector has faced ongoing setbacks with lockdowns continuing in parts of New South Wales, south-east Queensland and the whole of Victoria.

Bluesfest organisers recently expressed their concern over whether or not the October event will be able to proceed, saying a reschedule is becoming “ever more likely”. A number of other events such as Vivid Sydney, have cancelled their 2021 iterations altogether.

On July 29, a national I Lost My Gig survey found that $64million had been lost in live music revenue due COVID-19 restrictions and cancellations from the start of that month.

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