The organisers of the remote outback Big Red Bash and Mundi Mundi Bash festivals have announced patrons will be required to be vaccinated against COVID-19 for entry to their 2022 editions.
The Outback Music Festival Group, which organises both events, announced its “no jab, no jive” policy today (August 20). Current and future ticket holders, staff, volunteers, contractors and vendors will need to show evidence of vaccination to attend next year’s events.
The Broken Hill-based Mundi Mundi Bash is set to run in April of 2022, while the Big Red Bash, which takes place outside Birdsville in Queensland, is scheduled for July of next year.
“The health and safety of our patrons, staff, volunteers, contractors as well as the local outback communities has always been and will continue to be the highest priority for the Outback Music Festival Group. Every decision related to the operation of the festivals is made with health and safety as an overriding consideration,” commented Greg Donovan, founder and managing director of the Outback Music Festival Group, in a statement today.
“Staging festivals in such remote locations, where patrons come from all over Australia and travel through small regional and outback communities, many of which have large indigenous populations, has led us to carefully review our position on vaccinations.
“Whilst we respect the choice of individuals as to whether or not they decide to get vaccinated, due to the nature and location of our festivals we have decided to make vaccination a condition of attendance for everyone aged 16 and over – including patrons, staff, contractors, vendors and volunteers.
“This will offer all in attendance the best available protection against COVID-19. It will also ensure that remote communities are protected as much as possible from our patrons travelling through and visiting these towns and communities.”
This year’s Big Red Bash took place in July with a lineup that featured Paul Kelly, Cold Chisel‘s Ian Moss, John Williamson, Daryl Braithwaite, Thirsty Merc and more. Donovan says it “feels like a miracle” they were able to operate the event in a COVID-safe manner with 10,000 attendees, acknowledging it was made possible due to measures like rapid COVID onsite testing, social distancing measures and artist bubbles.
Donovan concedes, however, that the Delta variant has made it “impossible” for event producers to operate until vaccination levels are higher, hence the decision to implement their newly-announced policy.
This week, Live Nation Australia expressed interest in trialling initiatives that would require concertgoers to present proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test to enter its events.
“All over the world, showing proof of COVID vaccination or negative test is proving to be an effective way at getting fans safely back to large scale events,” commented Live Nation Asia-Pacific President Roger Field.
“In Australia, when the timing is right, we need to work with government to explore and trial these kinds of initiatives as a way to get the show back on the road.”
Earlier this month, Live Nation’s US arm announced it would implement the policy at its events from October after this year’s Lollapalooza festival, which Live Nation organises, was confirmed to not be a super-spreader event. More than 90 per cent of attendees were vaccinated.