The cancellation of Bluesfest is devastating for so many in our industry. Sadly, it is just one of the many events cancelled due to the Brisbane lockdown.
The Victorian lockdown a month earlier also saw a vast number of events cancelled – from festivals and community sporting events through to conferences and public events – causing huge losses. The Perth and Adelaide lockdowns also saw many events cancelled.
But the biggest impact of the lockdowns has been the large number of events now cancelled through to the end of the year, and the vast number of events that are now not even being planned, because people cannot take the large financial risks of a last minute cancellation.
It is not possible to get event cancellation insurance for COVID risks. Insurance companies are no longer offering coverage. This means that a lot of organisations from commercial promoters to not for profit groups that rely on events to generate much of their income, from schools and community groups through to large businesses cannot hold their events as they cannot risk the huge financial consequences of operating without insurance.
This is the main reason why a large proportion of live events are not happening right across Australia. And it is causing business closures, job losses, and families losing their homes as well as all they have worked for, often for decades, right across the live event sector.
We know that lockdowns are likely to keep happening for another year or longer, so this will remain a huge issue for a long time.
Governments have traditionally stepped in to fill gaps left by the insurance market.
The Federal Government is already providing COVID cancel insurance for the Film Industry. The Victorian government is providing insurance for building surveyors.
After 9/11 the Federal Government established the $14 billion Australian Reinsurance Pool Corporate to underwrite terrorism insurance risks.
We need the federal and state governments to underwrite COVID cancellation insurance for live events so that people can get back to holding events without the risk of losing everything they have.
We also need governments to finally act to provide desperately financial support to businesses in the event industry – especially the suppliers – so that they can survive until events really start to pick up again later in the year.
Please use this link to send an email to the Treasurer, Ministers and your state and federal MPs to ask them to urgently act. And you can change the subject line and the text of the email to better reflect your views.
And please share this widely.
Finally, Roady4Roadies is coming up on April 11 in many cities around Australia. Please buy a ticket to support the great work of SupportAct and CrewCare.