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Do event organisers need festivals insurance?

Behind the scenes, festivals take a lot of work (and expense) to put on. If you’re organising a festival or music event, don’t forget to arrange festivals insurance to make sure you’re covered if it doesn’t all go quite to plan.

Behind the scenes, festivals take a lot of work (and expense) to put on. If you’re organising a festival or music event, don’t forget to arrange festivals insurance to make sure you’re covered if it doesn’t all go quite to plan.

Written by
Mubina Pirmohamed
Business and landlord insurance expert
Last Updated
27 JULY 2023
6 min read
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Why do I need festivals insurance when organising an event?

Whether you’re putting on a four-day music event or the local village fete, comprehensive insurance for festivals could help protect you from unexpected claims. Because no matter how well you organise, there’s always something that can disrupt your plans.

Festivals insurance can help you in a range of situations from minor hiccup to major hitch. For example, it could help if:

  • A festivalgoer trips on an uneven surface and gets hurt
  • Someone spills a beer on the expensive sound system
  • A storm rolls through and devastates your venue days before the event
  • Your main performer cancels at the last minute.

With any event or festival, it’s wise to make sure you have the right cover to avoid potentially costly claims or large losses. It’s also a good idea to arrange insurance cover as soon as you can in case of cancellation.

What types of festivals require music events insurance? 

All kinds of festivals, musical or otherwise. You might need festival insurance for literary festivals, comedy festivals, antiques fairs, film festivals, arts and crafts fairs, beer festivals, concerts, food and wine festivals or community carnivals.

If your event involves hiring employees, renting a venue and inviting the members of the public to attend, it may well be compulsory to get festivals insurance.

You may also want to buy festivals insurance that helps protect you financially if things don’t go as you planned.

Even with a smaller event or music festival, you’ll need to invest a fair amount of money to bring your plans to fruition. You may need to hire a venue, rent expensive equipment, book caterers or performers, and spend money on promotion and marketing.

What does festival insurance include?

You may need more than one type of insurance to cover your event. Some policies are legally required, while others add peace of mind for festival organisers. Here are some of the options available.

Public liability insurance
As a basic rule of thumb, if members of the public are attending, you’ll need public liability insurance. This is to cover you in case anyone gets injured or their property is damaged as a result of negligence on the part of the festival organiser.

Many venues available for hire will require you to have public liability insurance in place for the event to protect them from any liability.

Employers’ liability insurance
If you’re hiring anyone to help you organise or run your festival, you’re required by law to have employers’ liability insurance. This is in case your employees get injured or fall ill because of the work they do.

If you’re enlisting the help of volunteers, you also have a duty of care to make sure they’re covered for any injuries sustained while working for you.

You’ll need to check with your insurance providers as to whether volunteers will be covered.

Equipment insurance
This helps cover you for any theft or damage to equipment associated with the festival, including any equipment you’ve hired. Just make sure that any contracts with suppliers and contractors are made and paid for in your name. If you pay through an event organiser your money may not be covered.

Cancellation insurance
Covers you if the event is cancelled due to specific unforeseen circumstances. It can help you to recoup costs you would have otherwise lost. You’ll need to check your music festival cancellation insurance policy document to see what’s included. Certain circumstances, such as failure of suppliers, will be excluded.

Severe weather insurance
This is a type of cancellation insurance that covers your festival in adverse weather conditions such as a storm.

Festivals insurance may help minimise your financial losses if something unforeseen happens. However, not all eventualities are covered if your event has to be cancelled.

You may still have to absorb things like marketing costs or poor ticket sales, so check your music event insurance policy documents carefully.

Professional indemnity insurance
Another thing to consider if you’re organising a ticketed event is professional indemnity insurance. This could help to protect you if festivalgoers claim the services provided haven’t met expectations in line with what was advertised.

What is not covered by festival event insurance?

You should check your insurance policy carefully to look out for any exclusions. For example:

  • Some public liability insurance might not cover you for damage or injuries caused by vandalism or malicious acts.
  • Your equipment cover may exclude specific items such as fireworks or inflatables.
  • Employers’ liability insurance won’t cover you for third-party contractors you use for the festival, such as security or catering services. They should have their own insurance in place, as should any performers or entertainers

How much will UK festival insurance cost?

The cost of festival insurance can vary a lot and will depend on the cover you need, and the size and complexity of the festival. 

For example, if the festival will go on for several days or is taking place outside the UK, the insurance cost will be higher. And if there are potentially hazardous activities – such as climbing or water sports – you could expect to pay more.

The cost of public liability insurance will depend on how many festivalgoers you’re expecting. Likewise, the premium for employee liability insurance will depend on how many employees you have. The event equipment premium will depend on the total value of the equipment.

Frequently asked questions

Does festival insurance cover postponement?

Yes, usually. If you include cancellation cover with your music festival event insurance, it will typically include event postponement under the same conditions. Read the terms of any policy carefully and if you’re unsure, speak to your provider.

Do I need insurance for mobile catering and other vendors coming to my festival?

You’ll need to make sure they have cover. If you’re inviting food vans or other private vendors to work your festival, make sure they have the right public liability insurance. Ask for a copy of their insurance certificate and forward it to your festival insurance provider so they can advise you if it’s adequate.

Can I insure my festival for lack of ticket sales?

Not usually. Most festival insurance policies won’t cover cancellation if you choose not to go ahead with the event because of lack of interest or ticket sales. Some policies might cover reduced attendance because of external factors, such as transport problems though. Watch out for any exclusions, and if in doubt speak to your provider.

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