Electric Picnic promoters receive insurance payout for 2020, but not 2021

The promoters of Electric Picnic festival received an insurance payout after the 2020 event was cancelled due to Covid-19
Electric Picnic promoters receive insurance payout for 2020, but not 2021

Gordon Deegan

The promoters of Electric Picnic festival received an insurance payout after the 2020 event was cancelled due to Covid-19.

Managing Director of MCD, Denis Desmond confirmed today that the 2020 Electric Picnic event was covered by a global Live Nation insurance policy.

Mr Desmond operates Electric Picnic with Live Nation, and he stated: “We had cover, and we have had no issues getting payment.”

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

Covid insurance

A director and co-owner of Festival Republic through LN Gaiety Investments, Mr Desmond explained that the insurance payment to Festival Republic related to insurance for 2020 events cancelled due to Covid-19.

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

Mr Desmond said that 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 that Festival Republic UK revenues plummeted by 98.7 per cent from £56.42 million to £732,681 last year.

The company recorded a pre-tax profit of £8.42 million after recording ‘other operating income of £14m made up of the insurance payout of £13.27m and £738,862 in payments from the UK Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme'.

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

He said: “We are very happy that there was no exponential spike in cases or hospitalisations. That is a fact.”

Live music

The 1.6 million include 90,000 per day each attending Reading and Leeds music festivals and Mr Desmond said: “It was great to be back in a field at a festival and see the happy faces of the attendees, crews and bands.”

He said: “We had a very, very good summer festival-wise in the UK.”

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

He said: “You look at the rest of the world — at the UK, at the US — they are open for business and I sincerely hope that our industry reopens at full capacity from October 22nd.”

He said: “We are looking forward to getting back to work in Ireland. It is now 532 days since we have done a concert in Ireland at full capacity.”

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

The Killers

Mr Desmond said that a huge number of shows from 2020 that 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 reopen, it will be domestic and UK acts and 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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