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Insurance For Pandemic Related Claims Is Still Hard To get . So Try this.


Insurance for pandemic related claims is still hard to get .This is a possible alternative to insurance:

Self-indemnity for organisers (a collective solution)


To find a way for event organisers to be able to plan throughout the year and cover their overheads so that last minute, for reasons linked to a pandemic, cancellation would not cause unrecoverable failure of the business.

Therefore, to ask the audience at purchase to agree that should the event be cancelled last minute, they would forgo a proportion of their refund in order to cover costs and keep the festival business alive.


It is unlikely that any lawyer would sign off such an idea as watertight due to the strong protection offered by consumer law.  However, consider being transparent and obvious when writing your comms. I.e., Your customer must sign a declaration in which they agree to your terms and conditions. * See below.


Getting the message across to your audience clearly is paramount.  They need to understand what pressures the event has to go through and decide whether they would rather back the event, or simply not buy a ticket until they know things are safer and more predictable (whenever that might be!). 

To be super clear, add a pop-up the customer has to click to agree to this specific part, as well as a tick box for your terms. 

The amount to cover

There are 3 keys amounts to consider:    

  1. The absolute bare minimum running costs of the event (overheads) throughout the year.
  2. The 2-month out infrastructure and other deposits which can no longer be delayed (although some of these would ‘roll over’ in the event of cancellation)
  3. The week-before, get infrastructure on site costs, which would be lost with a last-minute cancellation.


  1. £100,000         Overheads, core staff wages, licencing, office costs etc
  2. £200,000         Advanced deposits for artists and infrastructure
  3. £200,000         Payments made during or post event.

£500,000         Overall event budget


The clearest way to present this in checkout is to have an additional ticket or element that is added to your entry ticket automatically by the system (one-to-one).  This way it’s clear and transparent that part is your entry ticket, and the add-on is the non-refundable element.

We would assume that both parts are vatable but clear this with your financial advisers.

How to redeem

The reality is, that even if your audience gets on board and agrees to cover costs, should you need to actually use the cover, you will have to refund all customers the standard part of their ticket in order to recoup the non-refundable element.

This would mean making sure that all advanced payments were covered by your indemnity amount.

From the example above, that would mean the full £100,000 for business overheads and whatever proportion of the £200,000 advance deposits that aren’t returnable due to postponement or cancellation.  If most supplier deals offer a roll-over rather than payment refund, it may mean you are looking for your audience to cover nearly £300,000.  On a festival for 5,000, that’s £60 per ticket. This example may be too big for your event so you can make your own decisions on the size of the retention to cover whatever costs you feel you need to cover.


With so much uncertainty but so much desire, we feel this approach allows an element of control to be given back to the event organiser, providing audiences are brought on board with the concept.

It won’t be for everyone, but we salute and congratulate the team at Brainchild, under Jon Walsh’s careful guidance, for having the courage to try this and enable them to continue to plan for an event in 2021.

As an example, see this Festival

Crowd Cover Pledge
Ticket page

This idea was thought up by the team at Brainchild, supported by Jon Walsh at Shambala, facilitated by Mo Jones at The TicketSellers. As we went to print there was a glimmer of hope from the Culture Minister Caroline Dinenage. She said that there was a sprint team at DCMS that had put together a proposal to help the events industry restart with insurance. The proposal was now with the Treasury team and we should hear good news or Not by the end of June Fingers crossed.

However festival organisers should look at the above model in case the insurance never comes or indeed the premiums are in the stars.

(If you have any questions feel free to email ([email protected])

Association of Festival Organisers (AFO): 21st Jun 2021 14:52:00

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