Electric Picnic organisers unable to secure insurance to cover cancelled 2021 festival

Electric Picnic organisers unable to secure insurance to cover cancelled 2021 festival

Elbow perform on the main stage at Electric Picnic in 2017.

The organisers of the Electric Picnic festival have been left out-of-pocket after they were unable to secure insurance to cover the prospect of the event being cancelled.

Organisers also say they have adopted a "wait and see" approach to next year's live music calendar, and say it will be 2023 before a full return to new shows can be expected.

A payout was issued after the cancellation of the 2020 Electric Picnic, which was postponed due to Covid-19, with Denis Desmond, the managing director of MCD, saying this was covered by a global Live Nation insurance policy.

However, Mr Desmond confirmed it was not possible to get cover for the 2021 event, which the organisers had hoped to run in late September, though they were unable to secure an event licence due to capacity restrictions on outdoor events at the time.

Mr Desmond said the cancelled Electric Picnic for 2021 was not covered by insurance 'as insurers as of January of last year decided that they wouldn’t give pandemic cover'. Picture: Aerial.ie 
Mr Desmond said the cancelled Electric Picnic for 2021 was not covered by insurance 'as insurers as of January of last year decided that they wouldn’t give pandemic cover'. Picture: Aerial.ie 

Mr Desmond made his comments as new accounts for the Live Nation controlled Festival Republic Ltd in the UK show it received a Covid-related insurance payout of £13.27m (€15.52m) for 2020.

He said: “We were in the lucky position that we had Covid insurance.” 

Mr Desmond said the cancelled Electric Picnic for 2021 was not covered by insurance “as insurers as of January of last year decided that they wouldn’t give pandemic cover”.

Festival Republic in the UK operates the Leeds and Reading music festivals and many others.

The impact on the live music industry from Covid-19 is laid bare with the accounts showing Festival Republic UK revenues plummeted by 98.7% from £56.42m to £732,681 last year.

While ongoing Government restrictions here have ensured the live music industry has remained effectively shut down, Mr Desmond said between July 19 and September 19 at festivals in the UK “we had 1.6m people”.

He added: “I am hopeful that we will re-open at full capacity in Ireland – it is phenomenal that we had a 90% take-up on the vaccines here.” 

In terms of major outdoor gigs here next year, Mr Desmond said: “We are adopting ‘a wait and see’ attitude.” 

Mr Desmond said a huge number of shows from 2020 are all scheduled to happen next year including the likes of David Gray, Stormzy, Harry Styles and The Killers. File picture: Sam Boal/Rollingnews.ie
Mr Desmond said a huge number of shows from 2020 are all scheduled to happen next year including the likes of David Gray, Stormzy, Harry Styles and The Killers. File picture: Sam Boal/Rollingnews.ie

Mr Desmond said a huge number of shows from 2020 are all scheduled to happen next year including the likes of David Gray, Stormzy, Harry Styles and The Killers.

He said: “It will be 2023 before we get a full return of new shows.” 

Mr Desmond said for the remainder of this year, when live music does re-open, it will be domestic and UK acts and he doesn’t expect international acts to return before March and April of next year.

He said: “The big international acts are still waiting and waiting to address their insurance. There is always the risk of localised lockdowns and if there is no insurance, there is a huge financial exposure for international acts.”

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