Summer music festivals can be an early life highlight and in this, of all years, young people deserve something to look forward to.
With the Covid-19 threat and lockdowns of varying severity impacting important social lives, who wouldn't want a mid-summer blowout?
The Government does and has appeared fixated on the big gigs. So it's no surprise it has decided to underwrite nearly all unrecoverable costs with taxpayer funds if the events are impacted.
The Events Transition Support Scheme will, over summer,r cover 90 per cent of fixed costs for paid, ticketed events for more than 5000 vaccinated people, if organisers cancel or postpone due to Covid restrictions.
This has naturally been welcomed by promoters of big events such as Rhythm and Vines. It has taken one very significant threat out of the complex business of organising anything during a pandemic.
Tourism Minister Stuart Nash says the Government is not insuring the profits or shareholders' salaries but is taking the lion's share of risk for upfront costs of events whose organisers he described as great entrepreneurs who give back to their communities.
He says they shoulder much of the liability to deliver experiences that are part of the cultural fabric of a Kiwi summer and create lasting memories. That's for those who can afford the ticket prices which can run into many hundreds of dollars.
Whether any big shows go ahead will depend on the path of the Delta outbreak and the country hitting vaccination targets. R&V is held on the outskirts of Gisborne and, if greater certainty about the event can spur more to get vaccinated in Tairāwhiti - where rates are lagging - then that will be a welcome positive spinoff.
But many others in the events sector have been left out in the cold by the Government's scheme. Smaller, niche music promoters say they were blindsided by the scheme which excludes them in spite of their repeated pleas to the Government.
The National Party says the plan consigns small events businesses to the scrapheap.
It has proposed its own events insurance scheme to cover large events by $50 million in event insurance, and $20 million for small ones.
The Act Party, meanwhile, is pleased the Government doing something for the sector, but describes it as ''stingy'' and says it comes months too late.
The core of the events sector is hundreds of business gatherings that largely fly under the radar but, before Covid, was worth $1.45 billion, with more than 3.6 million attendees both domestic and international, employing 22,000 people directly and in tourism and accommodation.
Business Events Industry Aotearoa estimates the sector has lost 78 per cent of its value during the pandemic. While few of its members will be helped by the insurance scheme, it is pleased at support for anyone in events and sees it as a signal its lobbying for what would be a much wider scheme may yet make headway.
It is hoped summer festival organisers don't have to call on the scheme, the shows go on and we all get the summer we deserve.
Regardless, the Government should look again beyond those putting on events for the youthful rump of its voter base. If it is going to be the insurer of last resort, it would be fairer to take a broader approach and back smaller events.