Campaign seeks to influence government policy to save summer events

FTI Consulting, working for private equity firm Rivertrade and reinsurance company RiskSpace, is behind a broad-based communications campaign calling for a Government-backed insurance scheme for live events.

Foo Fighters performing at Glastonbury in 2017 (pic credit: Getty)
Foo Fighters performing at Glastonbury in 2017 (pic credit: Getty)

The cancellation of this year's Glastonbury Festival last week has highlighted fears that other festivals and sporting events will follow suit due to insurance policies not providing cover for the impact of COVID-19.

The Let Live Thrive campaign is backed by major events organisers and insurers, as well as MPs and peers.

Stephen Day, partner and senior MD, strategic communications, at FTI Consulting, said:  “We’ve created a coalition involving a number of events insurance companies as well as some of the players in the live events, sports and music scene who have signed up to the campaign.”

“Our job is to bring all these individual groups together under one umbrella. I think the successes of certain campaigns in relation to Government policy around COVID-19 support have been in those sectors that have been able to get in there quickly and have one united voice.”

The campaign has gained political momentum after 19 MPs signed an Early Day Motion in November calling on the Government “to work with the insurance sector to underwrite contingency insurance for the live events industry, as proposed by the Let Live Thrive campaign.”

In December the campaign wrote an open letter to culture secretary Oliver Dowden, with 15 MPs and six peers among the signatories, urging the Government “to underwrite a COVID-19 contingency insurance product” that would allow events to take place “before it’s too late”. 

The letter warned: “Without this insurance, major regional and local live events across the UK will not go ahead in 2021.”

Earlier this month Julian Knight MP, chair of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport committee and one of the supporters of the campaign, wrote to Chancellor Rishi Sunak demanding the creation of a Government-backed insurance scheme "as a matter of urgency".

In a statement last week responding to the news that Glastonbury Festival had been cancelled, Dowden said the Government is “looking at problems around getting insurance”.

FTI will target ministers in the Treasury and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport as part of a wider comms campaign to win round public opinion, according to Day.

He said: “The next phase of the campaign is mobilising a wide range of grassroots sporting organisations, through things like all-party groups on sport, which we can hopefully [use to] draw attention to the plight of grassroots sport.”

The campaign will also target MPs with constituencies that host major sporting events, he added.

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