08 Aug Protect your Event against the Unexpected!
Imagine that your company, Treble Clef (‘TC’), is producing the One Week Music Festival (‘OWMF’), the biggest music festival to take place in Australia. Famous performers from across the globe are set to perform in various venues all around the Melbourne CBD.
Everything in the lead up to OWMF has been running smoothly until all of a sudden, the morning before OWMF is due to start, aliens land in Melbourne. The Premier believes they are attempting to conquer the city and declares a State of Emergency across Victoria. A curfew is imposed. Public spaces are closed. All events are to be cancelled.
In dutiful compliance with the Premier’s orders, TC cancels all OWMF events. The next day, the Premier lifts the State of Emergency after he and the Prime Alien reach a peaceful truce. OWMF can continue for the rest of the week but TC can’t reschedule the performances that were cancelled because the venues have been booked out and the performers have other obligations they have to leave for.
So what will happen to TC’s contracts with those performers? And with the venues?
Well, the answer depends on whether TC included sufficient provisions in respect of force majeure events in their contracts.
What is a Force Majeure clause and how can it protect you?
A force majeure clause is a contractual provision that allows a party to suspend, or terminate, the performance of its contractual obligations when certain extraordinary events or circumstances beyond their control arise and which make performance inadvisable, illegal, or impossible.
Force majeure clauses can cover circumstances and events such as war, terrorism, strikes, riots, crime or events described by the legal term ‘Acts of God’ such as hurricanes, flooding, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.
A comprehensive force majeure clause should address the definition of events covered, what will happen in the case of a force majeure event, which party can suspend performance, and what will happen if the force majeure event continues for more than a specified period of time.
In the absence of a force majeure clause, parties to a contract may be left to the mercy of the common law contract doctrine of ‘frustration of purpose’ which is difficult to establish and rarely results in excuse of performance.
How we can help you
In the current world climate, it is important that you and your events have adequate protection against force majeure events. Our Entertainment and Media Law team is able to provide you with comprehensive legal advice to ensure that the force majeure provisions in your contractual agreements are tailored to your specific needs.