The organizers of the French heavy metal festival Hellfest have blasted their insurance company for refusing to pay out coverage for losses tied to the coronavirus pandemic.
Earlier this week, the French government decided to cancel the 2020 edition of Hellfest on health grounds. The 60,000-capacity event, which takes place annually in Clisson, would have been headlined by DEFTONES, FAITH NO MORE and SYSTEM OF A DOWN.
In a statement posted to the festival's web site, promoter Hellfest Productions slammed Albingia, the French insurance company located in Levallois Perret, for allegedly denying Hellfest's claim, despite the fact that Hellfest's "contract clearly stipulates that financial losses due to possible pandemics will be covered provided that the contract was signed before the outbreak and recognition of the pandemic by the French authorities or by the WHO [World Health Organization]." Hellfest's contract with Albingia was signed on December 17, 2019, approximately two weeks before China alerted the WHO to several cases of unusual pneumonia in Wuhan, a city of 11 million people. The virus was unknown.
Hellfest said in the statement: "Our insurance company is demonstrating to those still doubting, that it is easier to pay insurance premiums rather than to obtain reparation for damages that we are supposed to be covered. Therefore, we were denied from Albingia because this 'type' of pandemic did not fit into our insurance policy.
"We obviously contest this reading. For Albingia, solidarity is for others, taking the risk of putting their policyholders in economic difficulties. Their reasoning is simple, take our contributions for a cancellation insurance YES, compensate us: NEVER. The idea?! Playing with words and interpretations to start a trial which last for several years. Meanwhile, the company will keep the money we should be able to claim. This is the reason why we want to shed light today on these shameful practices especially in times like this.
"Solidarity and commitments compliance should be the main concerns of insurers company.
"In short, while we are waiting for a long procedure, only two words come to us for this specialized event and audiovisual insurance company: FUCK YOU!"
A number of other European hard rock festivals have been canceled in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, including U.K.'s Download and Denmark's Copenhell.
There is little indication as to when we might get the coronavirus under control to the extent that public gatherings and normal business can resume. Even some of the more conservative estimates say certain areas may be locked down until the end of the summer and possibly into the fall.