The Dutch government is reserving at least €300 million for a cancellation fund to allow event organisers to plan for the second half of 2021 without the financial risk posed by a potential Covid outbreak.
The guarantee fund – similar to those announced in Germany, Austria and Switzerland – is intended for music festivals, business fairs and sports competitions that attract a minimum of 3,000 visitors and take place in Q3 and Q4 of this year.
“[This fund] is a dot on the horizon for festival organizers,” says van Engelshoven. “They can fall back on the guarantee fund in which at least €300m has been reserved. The event industry has long come to a standstill due to Corona. Guarantee is needed to get it back on track.”
The cabinet is considering a 1 July commencement date for the fund as Dutch minister for culture, Ingrid Van Engelshoven, says that it is not “reasonable” to expect that “masses can stand close together on a field” earlier than that.
It is unclear what this will mean for festivals that are scheduled to take place in May and June including Best Kept Secret, Pinkpop, Awakenings and Defqon. 1.
The fund was announced on Thursday (21 January) after almost the entire House of Representatives voted in favour of the scheme the previous day. Along with the fund, the government has announced a new package of economic support measures totalling €7.6 bn which will be rolled out during Q1 and Q2 of 2021. The government also confirmed this week that the ‘Back to Live’ test shows, which were postponed from January after the Dutch government extended lockdown, will be permitted to go ahead in February.
The Dutch government is the latest to approve a much sought-after event cancellation fund. In September, Switzerland became the first European country to introduce an insurance scheme, totalling CHF 268m, which compensates event organisers a maximum of 80% of the financial loss if their event has been cancelled. Austria followed suit in October, setting up a €300m fund of its own, and Germany in December, with a government pot worth €2.5bn.
Meanwhile, with European festival season fast approaching, the live sectors in the UK, Denmark and France are lobbying hard for government-backed insurance schemes.