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Finland’s guarantee fund ‘doesn’t meet industry’s needs’

The Finnish government has proposed an event guarantee fund that would “put players in the sector in a highly unequal position”, according to the Event Industry Association (Tapahtumateollisuus).

The proposal, prepared by the Finnish Ministry of Employment and the Economy and submitted for comments on Monday (29 March), has been designed to reimburse a portion of the production costs for large-scale events and festivals should they be cancelled or restricted due to official regulations.

However, the association says the proposed guarantee scheme “unjustifiably” excludes a large part of the event industry, such as year-round events, professional sports and theatre.

In addition, the proposed guarantee support would only cover events during the summer season, up until 30 September. The association says the time limit does not take into account the time span of planning provisions in the event industry, nor would it cover “one of the most active operating periods in the industry”.

“In the proposed form, guarantee support would completely exclude a large part of the events industry”

The association adds that summer events have a “rather narrow employment impact on the industry as a whole”.

“It is good that the need for transaction support has finally been identified. However, it must also act on its purpose. Therefore, the support model must be corrected before the decision of parliament, because in the proposed form, guarantee support would completely exclude a large part of the events industry,” says Pekka Timonen, chairman of the Event Industry Association.

“A guarantee covering only the summer should have been provided for in January at the latest. We also require security from the guarantee to secure the events of the autumn season. Many trade fairs and corporate events as well as entertainment and seminar events are held in the autumn and early winter. They must be covered by comprehensive guarantee support,” adds Timonen.

In the northern hemisphere, other insurance schemes have been announced in Germany (€2.5bn), Austria (€300m), the Netherlands (€300m), Belgium (€60m), Norway (€34m) Denmark (DKK 500m) and Estonia (€6m).

 


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Dutch gov reveals details of €385m insurance fund

The Dutch government has revealed details of its event cancellation fund, announced in January, which will allow event organisers to plan for the second half of 2021 without the financial risk posed by a potential Covid outbreak.

On Friday (19 March), the government confirmed it is reserving €385 million for the guarantee fund, which will cover events that are scheduled between 1 July 2021 and 31 December 2021.

Events that were, or are, planned before 1 July 2021 and that have, or will, be moved to a date between 1 July and 31 December 2021 are also covered by the scheme.

An organiser can claim under the scheme if the event is banned by the Dutch government due to Coronavirus and the organiser cancels the event as a result.

In that case, the organiser will receive a maximum of 100% of the costs already incurred. Of this amount, 80% is a donation and the remainder is a loan to be repaid to the government.

The scheme will not apply to new events; events that have not taken out cancellation insurance previously; free events

Events must be organised in accordance with the Coronavirus restrictions applicable at the time of the event in order to be eligible for the scheme.

The scheme will not apply to new events which are to be held for the first time, events that have not taken out cancellation insurance for the previous two editions, free events and events outside of the Netherlands.

“It is a very important signal from the government to society that our sector can start organising events after 1 July with the original capacity,” says Jolanda Jansen from Alliance of Event Builders (Alliantie van Evenementenbouwers), an umbrella group whose members include promoters’ association VVEM and festival/venues body VNPF.

“This expresses confidence, although it remains a damper for the events that should take place earlier and cannot be moved, and are therefore now left out.

“Now that the guarantee scheme is in place, we would like to ask the government once again to take into account the National Event Plan in their roadmap as the starting point for our sector. People need perspective and want to know what to expect this summer.

“We will enter into discussions with the organisers to find out for which summer events it is feasible to start preparations”

“We are going to study the scheme thoroughly for feasibility and we will enter into discussions with the organisers to find out for which summer events it is feasible to start preparations now. But we are of course enthusiastic that there is finally a scheme to fall back on and that the government is expressing confidence in the event summer 2021.”

Events scheduled between July and the end of the year, that can demonstrate they were insured against cancellation for previous editions, can register their event from 1 May and will then be informed within four weeks whether they are eligible for the scheme.

Since January, when the government announced preliminary dates for the fund, major festivals including Paaspop, DGTL, Dauwpop, Awakenings, Utrecht Central Park Festival and Zwarte Cross have pushed back their spring editions until the autumn in order to be covered by the scheme.

Lowlands has also announced its 2021 event, which includes a line-up dominated by international artists.

 


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Netherlands mulls cancellation fund for concerts

The Dutch government is considering introducing a German-style fund to reimburse organisers whose events are cancelled by coronavirus restrictions.

Following lobbying by the Alliance of Event Builders (Alliantie van Evenementenbouwers), an umbrella group whose members include promoters’ association VVEM and festival/venues body VNPF, calls for a cancellation fund have reached the corridors of power in the Netherlands, with minister of culture Ingrid van Engelshoven said to be close to making a decision on the way forward for live events.

In December, Germany became the latest European country to set up a cancellation fund, worth €2.5 billion, to de-risk the organising of live events while Covid-19 (and associated restrictions on freedom of assembly and movement) is still a threat.

Austria, meanwhile, set up a €300 million fund of its own in October, while pressure is growing in the UK for a similar government-backed insurance fund.

“We are happy to make it a happy new year, but we need a guarantee fund from the government”

A spokesperson for van Engelshoven (pictured) tells the VPRO the minister will announce whether her department is backing a ‘guarantee fund’ by early February at the latest.

Jolanda Jansen, a spokesperson for the alliance, comments: “I am looking enthusiastically at the 2021 events schedule, with major international crowd-pullers, such as the Eurovision Song Contest and [the delayed] Euro 2020, set to really put the Netherlands on the map,” says alliance spokesperson Jolanda Jansen. “In addition, we have a rich festival culture with around 1,200 festivals, from small to large, throughout the country, and we know a large number of clubs and theatres.

“Almost everyone in our industry is eager and ready to get back to work. We are happy to make it a happy new year, but we need commitments and a guarantee fund, on the German model, from the government to continue.”

 


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