Ban on singing and dancing cancels Australia’s Summer Music Festival

Australia’s entertainment industry has been hit hard by the introduction of a new COVID-19 restriction that bans singing and dancing at outdoor events.

The public health order issued on Tuesday was already in place for indoor activities, but is now being amended to include outdoor activities.

This is because the state recorded 34,759 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, bringing the total number of known active cases to 333,235.

The new restrictions mean that event organizers need to prevent anyone other than music performers from singing or dancing at the event, making it virtually impossible to run a music festival.

Grapevine Gathering, an annual music and wine festival at Roche Estate in Hunter Valley, had to cancel the festival scheduled for January 15th.

A spokesperson for the festival said in a statement Tuesday, “It’s very heartbreaking to share with you that we have to cancel Grapevine Gathering New South Wales this weekend in just four days.”

“We deeply apologize for the news coming in the last hour. Many people understand that travel plans and arrangements have been locked for some time.”

A spokesperson also said that Grapevine Gathering had been implementing a government-approved COVID-19 safety plan for several months and remained in contact with the NSW State Government on all necessary safety measures.

Cancellations are expected to cost more than $ 5.2 million ($ 3.75 million) in the Hunter Region region, hiring 1,400 artists, food vendors, security, production, ticket staff, and others involved in the festival. Will be lost.

All ticket owners are guaranteed a refund.

Meanwhile, the annual Illawarra Folk Festival, which begins Thursday (January 13th), avoided the disaster by canceling the event a few months ago.

The festival is usually held every January for four days and is attended by folk artists from all over Australia and around the world, but the 2022 festival was canceled in September 2021 due to too much uncertainty. ..

The festival’s artistic director, David de Santis, told The Epoch Times that he couldn’t afford to risk all preparations just to see the event canceled at the last minute.

“It was too much financial risk,” he said.

“Because of the limited budget, it would be difficult to float if the event was canceled.”

This is the second festival that Illawarra had to cancel, winning the ax again in 2021, and the next festival is scheduled for January 19-22, 2023.

Steve Milne