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The death of the Queen: what does this mean for events organisers?

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As a country we are in mourning for Her Majesty The Queen, Elizabeth II. We are all deeply saddened at the loss of our longest-serving monarch. The passing of the Queen means that Project London Bridge is now in place; a framework that outlines how the UK will mark the occasion.

Due to the official 10-day National Mourning period, some events have been cancelled and the industry has been left in a state of limbo regarding next steps and what this means for events going forward. In this piece we aim to shed some light on how we move forward, together.

What guidance has the government given?

We have been informed that the government will not order events to close during the National Mourning period, following the death of Queen Elizabeth.

Earlier today, an official update was given from the Government via Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS). It reads:

« There is no obligation to cancel or postpone events and sporting fixtures, or close entertainment venues during the National Mourning period. This is at the discretion of individual organisations. As a mark of respect, organisations might wish to consider cancelling or postponing events or closing venues on the day of the State Funeral.

« They are under no obligation to do so and this is entirely at the discretion of individual organisations.

« If sporting fixtures or events are planned for the day of the State Funeral, organisations may want to adjust the event timings so they do not clash with the timings of the funeral service and associated processions. As a mark of respect, and in keeping with the tone of National Mourning, organisers may wish to hold a period of silence and/or play the National Anthem at the start of events or sporting fixtures, and players may wish to wear black armbands.

In these sad circumstances, we have been advised by legal experts Mishcon de Reya that the force majeure clause in a contract comes into effect. »

What happens on the day of the Queen’s funeral?

According to Conference news, all military events will be banned, but other events will be able to continue as planned, at the organisers’ discretion. The Association of Event Organisers (AEO) has recommended that all events honour the national 2 minute silence on the day of the funeral.

The AEO has also advised that there could be an increased security risk (terror threat) to all events during this period, and in particular the funeral and coronation dates.

Kerrin MacPhie, chief executive of the Meetings Industry Association, has said that the mia is « advising venues and suppliers to proactively contact their clients offering a solution that gives flexibility. This can either be offering alternative dates or pausing and agreeing to do nothing until the period of mourning has passed. Next, we suggest agreeing a solution for all parties – one that will hopefully see the event take place in the future. »

How have event planners and venues reacted to the news?

Planners we’ve spoken to this morning are all in discussion about the right course of action. Some have postponed their events for the mourning period, mainly those who work with government officials. Others are yet to decide whether their events will go ahead but have suspended social media and comms in the meantime.

On the venue side, some are currently operating business as usual, whilst showing respect to the mourning protocol by flying any flags at half mast and adopting mourning bands. Other venues have reported cancelling parties in the coming days and simply charging for food, but for larger events, are in contact with their clients to discuss each event on a case-by-case basis. Some have allowed clients to move their events within the next two months if needed.

The general consensus is that the industry is continuing events as planned but with extra respect, with the exception of the day of the Queen’s funeral.

We will update this page as more updates follow. Make sure to follow our social media pages as we will post updates as we get them.