Electric Picnic promoters receive insurance payout over 2020 cancellation

Live Nation controlled Festival Republic Ltd received Covid related payout of £13.27m

The promoters of Electric Picnic received an insurance payout after the 2020 event was cancelled due to Covid-19.

Managing director of MCD Denis Desmond confirmed on Friday that last year's music festival was covered by a global Live Nation insurance policy.

Mr Desmond, who operates Electric Picnic with Live Nation, said “we had cover and we have had no issues getting payment”.

He made the comments as new accounts for the Live Nation controlled Festival Republic Ltd in the UK show that it received a Covid related insurance payout of £13.27 million (€15.52 million) for 2020.


A director and co-owner of Festival Republic through LN Gaiety Investments, Mr Desmond said the insurance payment to Festival Republic related to insurance for 2020 events cancelled due to Covid-19.

He said the 2021 festival – which was cancelled last month after Laois County Council refused to grant it a licence – was not covered by insurance “as insurers as of January of last year decided that they wouldn’t give pandemic cover”.

Festival Republic in the UK operates the Leeds and Reading music festivals along with many others.

Counts show the firm’s revenues plummeted by 98.7 per cent from £56.42 million to £732,681 last year.

The company recorded a pre-tax profit of £8.42 million after recording "other operating income" of £14 million, made up of the insurance payout of £13.27 million and £738,862 in payments from the UK government's Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

The £8.42 million pre-tax profit was a 16 per cent increase on the pre-tax profit of £7.25 million in 2019.

While ongoing Government restrictions here means the live music industry has not fully reopened, Mr Desmond said that between July 19th and September 19th they had 1.6 million people attend the company’s festivals in the UK

He said: “We are very happy that there was no exponential spike in cases or hospitalisations. That is a fact.”

The 1.6 million include 90,000 per day each attending Reading and Leeds music festivals. “We had a very, very good summer festival-wise in the UK,” Mr Desmond said.

“I am hopeful that we will re-open at full capacity in Ireland – it is phenomenal that we had a 90 per cent take up on the vaccines here.”

“You look at the rest of the world – at the UK, at the US – they are open for business and I sincerely hope that our industry re-opens at full capacity from October 22nd.”

He said: “We are looking forward to getting back to work in Ireland. It is now 532 days since we have done a concert in Ireland at full capacity.”

Gordon Deegan

Gordon Deegan

Gordon Deegan is a contributor to The Irish Times