Hundreds of festivals and events around the world have been left reeling due to the effects of COVID-19. Though it exists, no one was buying pandemic insurance — why would they? It’s not something we ever thought would happen on this scale, and while doing so might have been responsible, it was largely an unnecessary expenditure for many promoters who were already just breaking even on their events.
Due to the lack of insurance, most festivals aren’t offering refunds at all or are transferring tickets to years down the line. The few who are offering refunds have large backings from Live Nation or AEG or other major promoters and brand sponsorships.
On the other hand, you have DGTL Festival in the Netherlands which “accidentally” bought pandemic insurance, saving 70% of its $2.3 million investment.
DGTL sold 45,000 tickets months before the pandemic was a blip on anyone’s radar. After it hit, it was forced to cancel like so many others. “In light of the current COVID-19 pandemic, we at DGTL believe in putting the health and safety of our visitors, crew, volunteers and society above all. After closely following the advice and precautionary measures from the Dutch government and health officials, it is with deep sadness that we have to officially inform you that DGTL Amsterdam will not be taking place as scheduled on April 11th and 12th 2020.” The statement mirrored that of hundreds of others at the time.
But there was a silver lining.
“When we renewed our insurance policies, one of my employees sort of accidentally ticked the ‘pandemic’ box on the insurance form,” Tom Veldhuis, co-founder of Apenkooi Events, told the New York Times. “We’re getting roughly 70 percent of our $2.3 million investment back. Otherwise it would have been quite a blow.”
This sort of luck is not at all commonplace, but it’s luck all the same.
All festivals in the Netherlands are currently cancelled by order of Prime Minister Mark Rutte through September 1.