Much like TV and film, touring musical acts have also been hit hard, said Shannon Bare, senior vice president, HUB Entertainment practice, who has specialized in insuring touring artists for about 15 years.
In his view, it’s too early to tell what’s next for musicians on the road. “As far as the touring artist, everybody is just like me and you; everybody is sitting at home just waiting to see what happens next,” he said. “It’s probably going to ramp back up the same way it ramped down. It’s not good enough just to have the OK from your state. That doesn’t get people out of their house and get people comfortable.”
He cited a musical venue in Arkansas prepping for a mid-May opening weekend. It had to scale back the number of seats to “between 50 and 100 … and it’s a venue that holds 1,000 maybe 1,500 seats,” he said. “So they’re scaling it way down, and everybody is required to wear masks. There’s hand sanitizing stations everywhere. They are limiting the number of people in the bathrooms, have only paper plates and cups, no glassware.”
For touring artists, “there’s just simply no coverage for business interruption for a pandemic, a virus,” Bare said.
Larger live events and festivals may have had event cancellation coverage if the event was underwritten prior to coverage exclusions for COVID-19. “And if you purchased coverage after, I believe it was after late January, that’s when Lloyd’s put across the board exclusions on coronavirus. Then there was nothing to talk about.”
Bare sees the music entertainment industry exploring options in the future, such as limited seating at the live event but offering a pay-per-view experience for viewers at home. Will that work?
“I’ve really thought a lot about the live event, just the experience itself,” Bare said. “And what’s really difficult is at the very core of the live experience is, not just the band you see, but the experience of seeing that band with 75,000 other like-minded strangers,” he said. “That’s the challenge. We could put The Rolling Stones on stage and put the show on pay-per-view but it just simply doesn’t feel the same.”
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