A major summer music festival has been forced to cancel just a week after a shocking decision by policymakers to ban singing and dancing at outdoor events.
The Grapevine Gathering at Roche Estate in New South Wales’ Hunter Valley was set to feature major Australian artists including Peking Duk, The Veronicas, San Cisco and Inspired Unemployed – now over 16,000 tickets will need to be refunded.
Heartbroken organizers say the forced cancellation will cost the hard-hit tourist hotspot about $ 5.2 million in lost revenue, as well as 1,400 jobs.
The Grapevine Gathering at Roche Estate in NSW’s Hunter Valley (pictured) was forced to cancel just days
Heartbroken organizers say the forced cancellation will cost the hard-hit tourism hotspot around $ 5.2 million in lost revenue, costing the region around 1,400 jobs
WHAT ARE THE NEW COVID RULES IN NSW?
SONG AND DANCE FORBIDDEN: Cutting shapes and singing a tune is now prohibited both in indoor locations and at outdoor events. The only exceptions are for religious gatherings, weddings and rehearsals.
TEST THE CHANGES: People will be able to report positive RAT results with Service NSW starting next week. They will be counted in the daily figures of Covid cases.
MEETING ON THE SITE: Sites will be discouraged from allowing “vertical consumption” while drinking in bars and pubs.
SUSPENDED ELECTIVE SURGERY: The state suspended elective surgeries until mid-February to relieve pressure on the hospital system.
BAN ON LARGE EVENTS: The “overwhelming majority” of events will unfold, but will require approval from NSW Health.
Prime Minister Dominic Perrottet, after months of protest against Covid restrictions, announced last week that singing and dancing in indoor reception areas would be banned.
Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr Kerry Chant explained the decision saying the virus spreads more easily on the dance floor than when people are seated, as people move around and interact with many others.
Outdoor events were originally excluded from public health, but late Tuesday NSW Health announced the amendment had been extended in an attempt to devastate the already crippled live music industry.
The latest restriction is another embarrassing backflip for Prime Minister Perrottet as the state recorded another 25,000 cases of Covid on Tuesday – with many more in the community undiagnosed due to overwhelmed testing clinics and a shortage quick kits.
NSW still has no way of letting citizens officially report positive rapid test results, despite a system already in place in Victoria and Queensland – which is half of the southern state’s recent results.
A statement posted on the Grapevine Gathering Instagram page said the festival has done everything possible to comply with the rules.
“We are deeply sorry that this news arrives at the last hour. We understand that many of you have had plants and travel arrangements locked down for some time, ”organizers said.
“This is a devastating blow not only to the live music industry. But also to regional tourism.
“An expected loss of over $ 5.2 million for the greater Hunter Valley region is expected as a result of this cancellation. Over 1,400 jobs are now lost among our performers, food vendors, security, production, ticketing team and many more who were in the midst of preparing for the weekend.
Dr Chant said last Friday that health officials are particularly concerned about singing and dancing environments because “you actually meet and bring together people from very different social networks.”
The Grapevine Gathering at Roche Estate in New South Wales’ Hunter Valley (pictured) was to feature major Australian artists including Peking Duk, The Veronicas, San Cisco and Inspired Unemployed
Prime Minister Dominic Perrottet, after months of protest against Covid restrictions, announced that singing and dancing were now banned both indoors and outdoors
“When you go and sit down with your five friends in a restaurant and you’re just sitting down, the only people you really come into contact with are our mask wearing rules,” she said.
“With reception staff wearing masks, you wear masks until you sit down is the group you’re with.
“But when you’re actually dancing on a dance floor, when you’re energized and you’re singing in a group and moving around, then you risk exposing people you wouldn’t normally come into contact with on a daily basis. “
Although the Perrottet government has suppressed song and dance in pubs, clubs, discos, bars, entertainment facilities and major recreational facilities like music festivals, there are still a few exceptions.
Large religious gatherings can be held with members of the congregation singing hymns, while cutting forms is still permitted at weddings.
Students, instructors and artists are also allowed to rehearse.
NSW Health has defended its decision to exempt religious gatherings from the rules.
“Singing and dancing in venues and nightclubs is considered high risk due to the increased movement and mixing in and between these venues, the influence of alcohol consumption and the removal of masks. in these places to consume food and drink, ”said a spokesperson.
“People attending religious services generally remain in fixed positions and masks are mandatory for these indoor gatherings.”
Grapevine Gathering organizers (revelers in the photo) say they will now have to reimburse around 16,000 tickets
Stephen Wade, chairman of the Australian Live Music Business Council, said the industry “has been systematically targeted whenever there appears to be a major problem in cases of Covid.” Pictured: Grapevine Gathering Music Festival
But that’s a bitter pill for the live music industry to swallow.
Stephen Wade, chairman of the Australian Live Music Business Council, said the industry “has been systematically targeted whenever there appears to be a major problem in cases of Covid.”
“It seems our industry is an easy target and has been consistently targeted whenever there appears to be a major problem in Covid cases,” he told The Australian.
“The confusion for people who make a living in our industry is this: what is the difference between singing and dancing cricket, or at Hillsong, or at a wedding, which are all permitted as of today ? “
“Our industry is cracking down on this again, without consultation. We are systematically punished, as soon as everything goes really badly.