Big Red Bash organisers lose court battle over Covid cancellation insurance claim

Organisers of the Big Red Bash have lost their court battle with insurers to recoup millions of dollars of losses from the Covid-related closure of the Queensland festival in 2020.

The Big Red Bash was cancelled in 2020 leaving a three million hole in the festival’s balance sheet.

An exclusion in the festival’s insurance policy meant the event was not covered for “any loss directly or indirectly arising out of, contributed to by, or resulting from a communicable disease.” But the organisers argued it was the effects of travel restrictions that led to the decision to cancel, not the disease itself.

However, the Federal Court has backed the insurer’s position that the decision to cancel was a direct result of Covid itself.

“The event had to be cancelled for the safety of all concerned in the context of the overwhelming operational difficulties thrown up by COVID-19, any number of which was or were sufficient to make holding the event impossible,” the judge said.