Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced in this weeks UK budget that a further £390m will be invested in supporting arts venues in England, with £300m allocated to the existing Culture Recovery Fund.
Other measures such as extensions to furlough, SEISS [Self-Employment Income Support Scheme] and the VAT cut on ticket sales were welcomed, while the Business Rate 100% three month cut was encouraging, but there remain long running issues with this form of taxation across all industry sectors.
The main disappointment was the lack of a Government supported festival insurance scheme.
As discussed here, there is currently no commercial insurance available to support festivals and without this, even in normal times, it is unlikely that a festival or event would be able to proceed as the risk could be overwhelming.
Paul Reed, CEO of Association of Independent Festivals, said “independent festival organisers would much rather mobilise their staff to plan a full and successful festival season this summer. As we have repeatedly stressed, the only way they can do this is with a government backed insurance scheme that covers COVID-19 related cancellation.”
With there still being large question mark over which (or any) UK and European festivals may still go ahead, it also remains to be seen if US touring bands, in particular, will be able to travel given that they need a number of festival appearances in order to make the trip financially viable.
And that is not including the Brexit questions for UK musicians and support staff.