Barn On The Farm has become the first UK festival to announce its cancellation after the UK government fails to underwrite a protective insurance scheme.
The axing of their 2021 event comes after festival bosses previously told NME that they could “sink” and face bankruptcy if the government failed to back up live events this summer.
The Gloucestershire festival was set to take place from July 1-4, but organisers say that too much “uncertainty” surrounded this year’s event.
“This, coupled with the lack of appropriate government backed cancellation insurance, has rendered this year unfortunately too great a risk for us to continue planning in the festival’s current format,” they wrote.
Festival organisers previously told NME they run the risk of financial ruin if the road-map out of lockdown is delayed and prevents them from taking place.
— Barn On The Farm (@BarnOnTheFarm) April 16, 2021
“COVID simply isn’t covered by policies, so that’s why we think that there needs to be a government backed insurance scheme, with them essentially acting as the insurer as a last resort in the way the way that other governments have done across Europe to allow festival planning to go ahead with confidence,” said Association of Independent Festivals CEO Paul Reed.
As for the financial risks involved, Reed said that a recent survey of AIF members discovered that the average cost of staging an independent festival is over £6million.
DCMS chair Julian Knight also recently told The Times that organisers needed “the confidence to put plans in place and go ahead and lead to a summer of fun rather than a summer of none”.
Knight claimed there is “quite a lot of support” for an insurance scheme in government, but “it is the chancellor that has stopped it”.
Elsewhere, larger events such as Reading & Leeds Festival, Parklife Festival, Isle of Wight Festival and Green Man Festival have all announced plans to go ahead.
Live Nation sold 170,000 tickets in the three days following the government’s roadmap announcement, with Reading selling out entirely for 2021.