Boomtown cancels 2021 festival due to lack of government COVID insurance

It comes after festival bosses told NME that UK events could "sink" without the correct pandemic insurance

Boomtown Festival has cancelled its 2021 event, citing a lack of COVID-specific insurance policy from the UK government.

The Winchester-based festival is the latest in a line of events cancelling their 2021 editions for this reason.

In a statement explaining the decision, the organisers of Boomtown said: “After almost half a year of collective campaigning to the government, sadly COVID specific cancellation insurance for events still does not exist at this point in time. This means anyone putting on an event this year, will be doing so without the safety net of insurance to cover them should COVID prevent them from going ahead in any capacity.

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“For an independent event as large and complex as Boomtown, this is a huge gamble of up to an eight figure sum and the financial risk is simply too high.”

The festival will now return on the weekend of August 10-14, 2022.

They added: “We have been doing everything within our power to try to find a solution to the conundrum of putting on a safe and well-run event to the sheer scale, complexity and intricate nature of Boomtown this summer.

“Unfortunately, without any clear indication of what size events will be able to take place, and the conditions in which we will be able to operate, we have come to the conclusion that time has simply run out for us to be able to proceed in a way that would live up to our high safety and production standards for the event we had planned.”

Read the festival’s full statement here.

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The Boomtown news follows Gloucestershire-based festival Barn On The Farm cancelling their 2021 edition last week (April 16) for the same reason.

The axing of the 2021 events 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.

Speaking to NME, Association of Independent Festivals CEO Paul Reed said that government-backed insurance needed to be introduced before the end of March, when it is expected that independent festivals will have to start making major payments for this summer’s events.

“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,” Reed told NME.

Boomtown Festival
Boomtown Festival in 2019 CREDIT: Chris Gorman / Big Ladder

Elsewhere, larger events such as Reading & Leeds FestivalParklife FestivalIsle of Wight Festival and Green Man Festival have all announced plans to go ahead this year.

Live Nation sold 170,000 tickets in the three days following the government’s roadmap announcement, with Reading selling out entirely for 2021.

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