Energy & Environment

A Warmer Planet Could Mean Riskier Bets For Outdoor Festivals

Increased storm threats are a selling point for insurance companies.

Bishop Briggs performs at Free Press Summer Fest 2017 as rain falls on the audience.

This weekend wasn’t the first time the weather caused problems for a local music festival. In the years ahead, storms will only become more and more of a hassle for outdoor events. 

Could climate change become more of a concern for these events’ organizers?

Saturday night the party was on at Free Press Summer Fest, with Texas rapper Post Malone taking the stage after storm delays. The festival eventually had to close it down early Sunday night when things didn’t clear up.

Weather is always a risk for festivals, but as the planet warms, it will be more of a problem.

“What we expect to see over time is more frequent and more intense weather events,” says Lisa Gonzalez, President and CEO of the Houston Advanced Research Center, an independent environmental research group.

Gonzalez says festivals and people attending them will increasingly have to plan for storms that drop two to four inches of rain in an hour.

That increased risk is a selling point for Christian Phillips. He’s with Beazley, a company that sells “event cancellation insurance” to festivals.

“We’ll tell them the climate is changing, it’s not always necessarily going to be the fact that the next 25 years it’s going to run clean free, and you need to be prepared for it,” he says.

Phillips says he’s seen growing demand for cancellation coverage as more and more outdoor festivals pop up across the country.

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Travis Bubenik

Travis Bubenik

Energy & Environment Reporter

Travis Bubenik reports on the tangled intersections of energy and the environment in Houston and across Texas. A Houston native and proud Longhorn, he returned to the Bayou City after serving as the Morning Edition Host & Reporter for Marfa Public Radio in Far West Texas. Bubenik was previously the...

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