US venues are still waiting for support | Euro 2020 capacity requirements have some cities too nervous to host | The Government backed insurance battle rages on in the UK

US venues are still waiting for support

The COVID-19 Recovery Fund was a huge win for venues throughout the United States but the distribution process has become an epic failure. Museums, theaters and concert halls began submitting applications for a piece of the $16 billion dollar pie on April 8th. A few hours later, the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG) portal crashed and, as of this writing, is still not up and running.

Bourbon on Division marquee, Save Our Stages

For many venues, the grants are a lifeline that will help keep them afloat throughout the remainder (hopefully) of the pandemic. The situation has become so dire that every day counts and every hour the application process is suspended could mean one more venue that will be closed for good.

The program itself took more than three months of prep work with the goal of ensuring the venues receiving the payouts were the ones that needed it the most. Like so many other things these past months, things have not gone according to plan and it’s yet another hurdle that has been placed in the path of the live entertainment industry.

Euro 2020 capacity requirements have some cities too nervous to host

The Euro 2020 Tournament is set to begin on June 11. The 51 matches will be hosted across 12 different European cities. The UEFA is demanding that the selected cities commit to allowing spectators in order to be confirmed as hosts. Nine cities, including Amsterdam, Baku, Bucharest, Budapest, Copenhagen, Glasgow, London, Rome and St-Petersburg, have committed to filling stadiums to at least 25% capacity. England and Russia have already eagerly offered to host additional games, if necessary. The decision was expected on April 7th, but the deadline for the three remaining cities -- Munich, Dublin and Bilbao -- has been extended until today.

soccer ball with Euro 2020 logo

The decision about Bilbao, Spain came a day early and it was announced yesterday that the city, which was supposed to host three of the games, was removed from the UEFA’s list. As it stands, the minimum ¼ capacity requirement would not be permitted based on the current restrictions in the city. An update this morning confirmed Seville will be the new host city.

As of this morning, the two remaining cities - Dublin and Munich, were still unconfirmed. The Deputy Prime Minister of Ireland has expressed his belief that "June is too soon". He cannot guarantee that Dublin will be in a position to allow in-person events to take place safely and will likely surrender their games. Some reports have already published the decision to move the Dublin games to St. Petersburg. Conversely, it is expected to be confirmed by UEFA this afternoon that Munich will indeed host the games as scheduled (unless the COVID situation in Bavaria doesn’t improve by then…).

The Government backed insurance battle rages on in the UK

These past few days have felt eerily similar to last year as the announcements of event postponements and cancellations have come flooding in. Barn On The Farm was the first UK festival to announce they would be postponing this year’s installment until 2022. The festival was due to take place a mere 10 days after the expected end of restrictions in the country. Organizers cited the “uncertainty...coupled with the lack of appropriate government backed cancellation insurance” as the reasoning behind the decision.

concert tickets with "cancelled" across

Close on BOTF’s heels, Boomtown organizers announced earlier this week that the festival, a multi-million dollar affair, would be cancelled for the second year in a row. Despite the UK’s vaccination rollout, the lack of government backed insurance (sound familiar?) makes it impossible to proceed. Still 4 months away, the festival was planned for August 11-15, the uncertainty is still too high to continue to invest with no safety net.

The urgency for event backed insurance is still front page news as festival organizers continue to call out the government on their failure to provide support. It is the biggest reason organizers are apprehensive to start planning their events. The high costs and projected losses make the risk far too great and confidence remains low. According to AIF CEO, Paul Reed, “92.5% of respondents [to an AIF member survey] do not plan on staging their events without some form of Government-backed insurance or indemnity scheme.” Large events or small events, insurance is needed for all.