New Calls For Festival Insurance Scheme Following Bluesfest 2021 Cancellation

3 weeks ago
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Calls for a government insurance scheme for music festivals have been re-ignited following the last-minute cancellation of Bluesfest yesterday, less than 24 hours out from its planned kickoff.

The Byron Bay festival – which was scheduled to run from 1st-5th April with the likes of Jimmy BarnesTash SultanaThe Teskey Brothers and more – was cancelled due to COVID-19 concerns for the second year in a row yesterday, with a public health order banning the event from taking place after an outbreak of cases in the region from Queensland.

“We feel deeply for everybody affected, the fans, the artists, and the hard-working Bluesfest team. But in the end, the health of our community must come first,” festival director Peter Noble commented in a statement yesterday evening.

Fresh calls for an industry-specific government insurance scheme have followed, with peak music bodies and Labor MPs stressing the need for a way for organisers to recoup losses in the event of a cancellation. APRA AMCOS, the Australian Festival Association and Live Performance Australia are three of the organisations to have voiced their support of such a scheme, with LPA calling the implementation of a business interruption fund a “matter of urgency.”

Shadow Minister for Music and the Night Time Economy John Graham also called for an insurance scheme, saying “It’s not fair that music heroes like the [Bluesfest] team wear all the risk of COVID outbreaks and health restrictions.”

Shadow Minister for the Arts, Tony Burke, echoed Graham’s comments. “The music industry is full of viable profitable businesses unable to function because of public health,” he tweeted. “Govt has a COVID insurance system for the film industry. Music needs one too. Urgently.”

Earlier this year, Noble himself called for the implementation of a business interruption insurance policy, saying it would “incentivise event presenters to put on events and be protected in not going to the wall, should an out break of Covid shut down their businesses at short notice and protect artists, crew and Suppliers [to] get paid should that occur.”

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