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Cancellations


FinnDave
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As of today, both WOMAD & Cropredy have cancelled this year's festivals. We had been booked to play at both (though not on the main stages, obviously). They would have been the band's highlights of the year, now they're just weekends available for more rehearsals.

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Just now, stewblack said:

Yeah, I too have lost a little run of festivals, to which I had really looked forward. A nice change from the usual cramped, dingy pubs. 

 

So much nicer to play outside, I think we have only little local festival left that hasn't cancelled yet. We lost one we had been booked for a couple of months or more ago, though as it was the day before my daughter's wedding, I wasn't too upset about that one - getting back and staying awake could have been challenging!

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Sadly the Rebellion Festival was cancelled again this year. Although falling after the intended and now rescheduled freedom day I suppose 10,000+ indoors over 4 days just wouldn’t have been possible, let alone having 250 bands playing as well. Fingers crossed for next year.

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I think there are two issues causing this. To put an event on requires planning and financial commitments to give out contracts to suppliers etc. Without insurance, they're placing themselves at enormous financial risk. It takes months to plan a big event and I think they're also sayign they haven't now got enough time to plan properly. 

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What's going on is that despite the numerous test events that have taken place, the government have given no guidelines or insight as to what will or won't be allowed after July 19th. To put a festival on requires a huge investment and at least a few weeks lead time to build the site, the start of which involves the organisers committing large sums of money to various suppliers so they can crack on with the work. 

What's happening is that these festivals are reaching the "point of no return" dates where they have to start spending big money on site build, but not receiving clarity as to whether they'll actually be able to go ahead at full capacity, or at all, and what measures they'll be expected to have in place. If they can't go in to their build phase knowing they can honour all the tickets sold and run at full capacity, they're risking devastating financial losses - at which point it's a safer bet to postpone and ride it out until such a time as they can actually take place at full strength, rather than spend a million quid building a site and then only being allowed 50% of the customers needed to balance your budget, or not being able to run at all. 

That's why gigs in August onwards are pulling - it's still fairly likely that capacity limits will be imposed on large events even after July 19th, and unless they know for sure what that will look like, they can't be sure of the financial viability of the event. 

All the talk of insurance is because one of the headline points the live industry has campaigned for over the last year is for the government to back an insurance scheme to protect events from losses through Covid related cancellation. The insurance industry obviously won't underwrite it themselves as the risk is enormous. Other countries have put similar schemes in place but the government have refused to entertain it so far. 

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3 hours ago, Crawford13 said:

Just seen Wimbledon on the telly and the amount of people there would suggest there is no reason why most festivals couldn't go ahead. Not to mention that there is going to be 160,000 tickets for the F1 at Silverstone... 

Both of those events are part of the government backed Events Research Program, which is overseen by researchers and scientists and is supposed to be providing the data that allows us to plan how we move forward with safe delivery of events. 

Frustratingly, they've not provided any useful guidance from the results of the Phase 1 test events yet, so it's been no help so far.

3 hours ago, FinnDave said:

Yes, two of those I mentioned specifically the insurance as prohibitively expensive.

Not prohibitively expensive, it just doesn't exist. No insurer will underwrite the massive losses a large scale music festival would incur if it was cancelled due to COVID once the operational spend to deliver it had been committed. 

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I think I saw a report yesterday showing some preliminary results from the first set of event tests?

The whole thing is beyond annoying. The entire arts/events industry has been hung out to dry. A huge number of people who work in this space are freelancers and none of the government's schemes covers them. The failure to address that might be irreversible damage to the sector as people have had to find jobs and may not come back.

Without insurance no company is going to even attempt to run an event where they have to commit finances with no idea if it's viable or not. Most major European countries have put some sort of government backed scheme in place to cover organisers. I have heard repeated statements for at least the last 2 months from government mouthpieces saying "We're working flat out on a solution...". Germany announced April last year what it was doing right through to August 2021.      

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7 hours ago, zbd1960 said:

I think I saw a report yesterday showing some preliminary results from the first set of event tests?

 

They've released a summary of the findings this week, but nothing that constitutes actual advice on how to implement any of it as measures going forward. What little that has been released only came after various industry bodies mounted a legal challenge to force the release of the findings. Whole thing is a shambles. 

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9 hours ago, mike257 said:

Both of those events are part of the government backed Events Research Program, which is overseen by researchers and scientists and is supposed to be providing the data that allows us to plan how we move forward with safe delivery of events. 

Yes, it just seems very convenient that these "test" events happen to be massive institutions for UK sport. 

I can't think of any other type of testing that goes for the largest scale available rather than small scale.

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14 minutes ago, Crawford13 said:

Yes, it just seems very convenient that these "test" events happen to be massive institutions for UK sport. 

I can't think of any other type of testing that goes for the largest scale available rather than small scale.

As much as I've got issues with the way the test program is being handled, the point of it is finding ways to deliver large scale events, because that's where the biggest issues are, and thats what the industry needs to get moving again. 

Phase one included a concert for 5000 in a festival tent, two large scale indoor club events and a business conference in Liverpool, snooker at the Crucible, and a lower-than-normal capacity football match. Phase two included a downsized Download Festival, Royal Ascot, Wimbledon. Phase Four is slated to include Latitude Festival and Tramlines Festival, so a big festival on a single site, and a multi-venue inner city festival, as well as the sporting events already mentioned. 

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I know we have to get going again, and the country can't afford endless lockdowns but new cases hit 22,000 yesterday, up from 2000 a month ago! That's not going in a good direction, even though hospitalisations are staying very low. . . for the moment. The issue is more transmissions means more variants could appear. That could be very bad.

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2 hours ago, Crawford13 said:

Yes, it just seems very convenient that these "test" events happen to be massive institutions for UK sport. 

I can't think of any other type of testing that goes for the largest scale available rather than small scale.

e.g. no symphony orchestra concert hall / theatre has been 'tested' with full capacity audiences

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I do wonder why the Big Feastival is still apparently happening with so many others being cancelled. Whilst only a ticket buying attendee, I am intrigued they are still actively promoting the event (although very much hoping it goes ahead).

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As has been said in another thread, the Entertainment industry is worth £111 billion to the UK economy, to give you an idea how that compares, Fishing is worth £1.4 billion. I think the term used was 'philistines!'

Edited by yorks5stringer
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