The world knows about the tragic deaths at the Astroworld Festival during a rap concert in 2021. It’s every concert attendee, performer, and organizer’s worst nightmare.
It wasn’t the first time tragedy has struck during a concert. The Who in 1979, Pearl Jam in 2000, Great White in 2003…the list goes on and on. Not every accident or tragedy makes national news headlines.
While any concert carries some risk of damage or injury, certain events are deemed high-risk concerts for good reason.
High risk concerts need insurance policies that protect everyone involved when things go wrong – and there’s a lot more that can go wrong at certain types of events. Here’s what you need to know.
What Makes a Concert “High Risk?”
Concerts are meant to be high-energy, plenty of fun, and certainly entertaining for the people who attend. But as someone who’s put on a concert, you know they’re also risky. Whatever can go wrong, will go wrong.
And the bigger the band, the wilder the crowd, and more extreme the lighting and special effects, the more chances there are for someone to get hurt.
The biggest contributors to a concert’s potential risk include:
- Crowd size
- Seating options
- Electrical equipment
- Noise level
- Special effects
- Food and liquor service
Add an excited, pumped-up crowd who can’t sit down once the music starts, and the risk of injury and damage goes up.
Every high-risk concert is a bit different. Insurance for heavy metal concerts needs to factor in head-banging. Insurance for rock and grunge concerts needs to factor in mosh pits. And crowding the stage is a real possibility with well-loved entertainers.
Once a concert gets started, chaos can reign supreme. This is especially true once you mix a panicked crowd, high voltage equipment, and inability to understand anyone onstage who may be trying to prevent panic or problems.
The more risk of injury or damage, the higher the need for protection for both concert-goers, those working the concert, and yourself as a concert organizer.
What Kinds of Concerts Need High-Risk Coverage?
An evening of chamber or symphonic music is unlikely to be deemed high-risk by anyone’s standards, although, yes, there’s always risk of injury or damage. High-risk concerts tend to be larger than life, require a lot of equipment, and encourage raucous behavior from the audience. These include, but aren’t necessarily limited to:
- Rock concerts
- Heavy metal concerts
- Grunge concerts
- Hip hop concerts
- Rap concerts
These concerts tend to have lots of equipment – for the music and the special effects. They also tend to have larger, rowdier crowds, as well as areas where audience members gather and move freely in order to dance.
Pushing, shoving, and falling can turn to stampeding and trampling all too quickly. Add in large equipment, cables and electronics, and lots of noise, and the risks of injury are extremely high.
As a concert organizer, you need insurance that protects your business, your reputation, and the participants and concert-goers.
Types of Insurance for High-Risk Concerts
The type of insurance coverage you purchase depends largely on the type of concert you’re putting on. Some policies may not be necessary if they don’t apply to your event. Below are several forms of insurance you should consider for any high risk concert you plan.
All events, concerts or otherwise, need a general liability policy. Non-employees who are injured or experience property damage at your event will have their injuries and damages paid for by your policy, up to your policy limit. Most importantly, you’ll be covered if the injured party decides to sue you for the damage or injury they suffer.
Not serving liquor at your concert? You may not need this. But part of what makes a concert both fun and high-risk for everyone involved is the drinking. If alcoholic beverages are an option at concessions, in parties, or in the VIP section, you must purchase a liquor liability policy. Liquor liability protects you if someone who was served alcohol at the concert gets hurt or causes an accident later. In many cases, you’ll be required to carry this coverage by the venue, as well.
If you use vehicles to transport equipment, employees, performers, to run errands, or perform any other tasks, you need a commercial auto insurance policy. While property damage and medical payments are important in this coverage, the most important coverage is auto liability.
This protects you when you or an employee are driving as part of the concert planning, preparation and other activities. If you cause an accident, costs for bodily injury and property damage to the other person can be catastrophic. Auto liability pays the claim, up to your policy limit.
You’ve got to advertise your upcoming concert if you want it to be a sold out show. In the excitement to get people to the event, mistakes can be made. Advertising liability protects you, as the organizer, against claims of stolen ideas, copyright infringement, libel, slander, and even invasion of privacy. And even if you didn’t create the ad copy, you can still be held liable for the concert’s advertising.
Advertising liability coverage does not protect against claims of false advertising. If you make an advertising claim that simply isn’t true, you’ll pay those damages out of pocket.
Ask any event organizer, and they’ll say one of their worst nightmares is needing to cancel at the last minute. Time and money are both lost, and you may not be able to reschedule in the same venue. Cancellation coverage protects you from losses when the concert is canceled due to weather or performer illness.
This policy helps you recoup nonrefundable deposits and expenses as well as lost revenue due to lack of ticket sales or refunded tickets. You can cancel without worrying you’ve lost everything if you have this policy.
Set-Up and Take Down Coverage
With high-risk concerts, the biggest time of concern is usually during the event, when crowds are going wild and all the electronics are going full steam. But that’s not the only time when the risk of injury or damage is high.
Set-up and take-down coverage protects against injury and damage during the set-up of the concert and the take-down, instead of just during the event itself. Equipment can get dropped. Someone may fall off a ladder. The physical damages and your liability can be costly but this policy covers you.
Acts of terrorism don’t have to happen in the middle of your concert to affect the concert. A threat can be reported near the venue and shut everything down before the event begins. A report of terrorism as the audience enters can create fear and chaos.
Terrorism coverage pays claims for damaged property or injuries due to acts of terrorism during the concert. In order for the claim to qualify for coverage, the event must be certified as a terrorist act by the US Department of Treasury.
Participant Legal Liability
Participant legal liability is most often added to insurance policies for sporting events but high-risk concerts can benefit as well. You’re likely to have all kinds of participants: staff, performers, VIPs, etc – who cause someone else injury or damage while at the venue. If the injured party decides to sue you as the event organizer, you and they will be covered.
Coverage is typically granted to anyone who has access to the restricted areas of a concert venue; it’s not necessarily for concert-goers.
Property Damage Insurance
You don’t have a storefront like other businesses. Your office may be in another state and nowhere near the venue. But that doesn’t mean you don’t have property that needs protecting, especially at high-risk concerts. Property damage insurance will help repair or replace damaged property required for the concert. This includes, but is not limited to: the concert venue, music instruments, sound equipment, sets, props, wardrobe, costumes, and more.
Yes, you should purchase this coverage even if the venue has commercial property insurance and you’re using their equipment.
Medical payments pay for injuries that occur while the concert is being set-up, during the event, and afterwards during take down. It covers non-employees who are injured which may include contractors, freelancers, and anyone else not designated as an employee.
Rental Equipment Coverage
You may need to rent equipment for the concert set-up. This is equipment the venue or the performer won’t provide. If the equipment is damaged or destroyed while in your possession, you’ll be covered so you don’t have to pay out of pocket. It also eliminates the need to purchase coverage directly through the equipment rental company which may be more costly than purchasing your own policy.
Errors & Omissions Liability
As a concert organizer, part of your job is to make decisions based on your knowledge of the industry. And mistakes happen. The problem is that when you make a mistake, it can cost other people money. Errors & Omissions (E&O) or professional liability protects you when you’re found liable for those mistakes.
If you have regular employees – part-time or full-time – that help you organize, run, and put-on high risk concerts, you’re required to carry workers’ compensation. This pays the medical payments and lost wages for employees who are hurt or become ill while doing their job. It also pays death benefits to an employee’s family. If an employee or family decides to sue you, it also covers your legal expenses.
Workers’ compensation is required throughout the US so you’ll need anywhere you go.
As you know, putting on a fun, raucous, and potentially risky concert leaves you open to a lot of liability. Sometimes more than you can predict or your basic liability coverage can handle. Umbrella liability offers an extra layer of protection – like an umbrella protecting you from the rain.
When you have a larger-than-life claim, your insurance only pays up to your policy limit. You’re responsible for the rest. With an umbrella policy, it covers the rest of the claim – up to that policy limit – offering extra peace of mind and financial protection. It’s extremely affordable to purchase extra coverage and works for any liability policy you have.
How Much Does Insurance for High Risk Concerts Cost?
As with all insurance policies, the cost depends on multiple factors.
Are you insuring a single, one-time event or a series of events? Is this an annual event and did any claims occur during past concerts?
How big is your event and how many concert-goers do you anticipate? The size of the event will also determine how much equipment you need and use.
Where is the venue located? Is it in a known location for high-risk concerts that tend to draw lots of people or in a sleepy little village that doesn’t attract a lot of attention?
What kind of concert will this be? Some concerts may be deemed more high-risk than others based on previous history. Insurance for rap concerts is clearly important based on the Astroworld Festival.
How much coverage do you need and what will your deductibles be? Always purchase as much insurance coverage as you can afford. This isn’t the time to skimp or cut corners. But be aware that the more coverage you purchase, the more you’re going to pay for it.
Is Insurance Required for High Risk Concerts?
Insurance may not be required for high risk concerts, depending on the location and venue. The venue may require concert organizers to carry liability or property insurance. If city or county permits are required to organize the event in a specific location, liability insurance may also be required but it depends on the municipality. For example, the city of Charlotte requires commercial liability and liquor liability coverage for special events that require a permit.
High risk concerts can be a lot of fun for attendees. They also offer plenty of financial reward for those who plan them and those who perform in them. But they carry a great deal of risk and when something goes tragically wrong, the cost can be immeasurable.
Protect yourself and your financial investments with insurance coverage designed for the concerts you plan. Here at Charlotte Insurance, we can put together a policy that fits the concerts you plan – not the cookie-cutter options you may have been offered in the past. Contact us today to learn more.