In a bid to help UK music festivals – such as the Isle of Wight festival – restart when the time is right, MP Bob Seely has asked the Government to support festival organisers with a Government-backed insurance scheme similar to that in place for film and television.
Last month Mr Seely hosted a virtual meeting between Culture Minister, Caroline Dinenage, and some of the Island’s leading event’s organisers to discuss what could be done to support the industry this year.
This month the Island’s MP has written to the DCMS Select Committee Chairman, Julian Knight - who is responsible for the enquiry into the future of UK festivals – setting out the urgent need for support.
Mr Seely said: “Clearly events cannot go ahead until virus transmission rates are vastly reduced, however, the events industry needs to be able to plan for the future.
“The Government needs to understand that if event management companies do not get support, the Treasury faces lost tax revenue, mass unemployment in the sector, and widespread insolvencies.
“The vast majority of event management companies have received no income for almost a year now and they may not be there when we come out of the pandemic. They need help now.
“Insurance is essential to this industry. Organisers cannot plan with confidence without it and livelihoods are at risk.”
Sarah Moss, Organiser of the Island's Jack Up The Summer festival, said: “Even with the much-anticipated vaccine roll-out, the entire Events Industry has lost a full year’s income therefore, particularly for independently run events, the stakes are incredibly high.
“Government-backed insurance would be the first key in the door to giving Event Organisers the necessary confidence to plan and kick-start the workforce, providing much-needed stimulus to the many small Island businesses which make up our extensive supply chains.
“Such a scheme will help ensure we can continue to provide enjoyment to both Islanders and Island visitors for many years to come.”
Mr Seely went on to say: “Isle of Wight festivals and events generate well in excess of £45 million pounds to the Island’s economy each year and as the MP of Britain’s Festival Island, it is important that I champion the need for support.
“When the nation emerges from this crisis, festivals and events will be a critical component in rebuilding our local and regional economy. Islanders will need something to look forward to and visitors will require incentives to travel to the Island.”
Mr Seely has asked all festival organisers on the Isle of Wight to make representations directly to the DCMS Committee.