Coronavirus has cost event businesses (on average) £539,431 with more than 50 per cent suffering liabilities of £100,000 or more.

This is according to a new study by the National Outdoor Events Association (NOEA), which asked the festival and events industry to reveal the true cost of the pandemic.

Respondents, including senior industry leaders, believe that the events sector has been “left on the shelf” and it will lose some of the UK’s most recognised event and festival brands over the next three months, as well as face job losses reaching the tens of thousands.

The announcement follows warnings last month that the industry was looking at irreversible damage, with many businesses unable to guarantee existence past July 2020. The industry has been calling for urgent Government support for the many events and support businesses that have seen cancellations this summer. The long lead time of creating events has effectively meant businesses have written off the busy summer season of events, with winter festivals and Hogmanay events now increasingly under threat as well.

“We surveyed our members last month and reported to Government that 51 per cent will not see the end of 2020 without support, and 41 per ent only have enough liquidity for the next 1-3 months,” commented Tom Clements, president of NOEA. “Another month has passed and as yet we have had nothing concrete; only minimal guidance for a fraction of events, no universal restart date, and no support packages. We’ve been left on the shelf and watched as other industries have been given priority. The response has been too little, too late, and because of that we’re looking at losing some of the best events, some of the most dynamic support companies, and some of the most creative talent we have here in the UK.”

Clements added: “We’re a responsible industry and we understand risk, crowd management, health and safety. But time has run out, events take time to organise and the process has been so slow that the summer has been effectively wiped out, we’re increasingly concerned about the winter events as well now.

“Once we have a universal start date from the Government, we can assess the risk to audiences depending on the size of the event. Those events that can’t go ahead really require urgent support as they have lost a years’ worth of trading and won’t be back until the spring 2021. Those that can be managed safely, can immediately start to bring benefit to business and society.”

Image: Pablo Heimplatz