The organisers of music and wine festival Grapevine Gathering have cancelled the festival’s NSW edition – which was scheduled to take place this weekend in the Hunter Valley – due to a newly-introduced ban on patrons singing and dancing at music festivals in the state.
Last Friday (January 7), NSW premier Dominic Perrottet announced that singing and dancing would be prohibited in hospitality venues (including bars and nightclubs) and entertainment facilities in the state until at least January 27, amid a surge in COVID-19 cases.
At the time, Perrottet said he expected the “overwhelming majority” of major events in NSW to proceed despite the new restrictions, advising organisers to “continue as planned.”
“There are no changes to any of those events,” he added. “Only in circumstances when NSW Health deems that event to be a high-risk event, then we will contact those organisers and work through the current COVID-safe plans with you.”
On Monday (January 10), Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant signed an amendment to the relevant Public Health Act. The amendments prohibits festivalgoers from singing or dancing at events in the state, requiring organisers to ensure “no person sings or dances on the premises” besides performers and those rehearsing to perform.
In a statement yesterday (January 11), the organisers of Grapevine Gathering said they were “extremely heartbroken” to cancel the NSW event four days out due to the Public Health Order amendment.
Organisers added that they have had an approved COVID-safe plan for the event for months hand had been in “constant communication with the NSW Government regarding all required safety measures.”
“The recent public health order announcement still allowed for planned major events to proceed and the advice given up until this point was that our event was still compliant,” they added.
“This is a devastating blow not only to the live music industry, but also to regional tourism. A projected loss of over $5.2 million to the greater Hunter Valley region is expected from this cancellation. Over 1400 jobs are now lost across our artists, food vendors, security, production crew, ticketing staff and more who were deep in preparation for the weekend.”
Grapevine Gathering is currently still scheduled to take place in Victoria’s Yarra Valley later this month and WA’s Swan Valley in April, with a line-up that includes the likes of Peking Duk, The Jungle Giants, Vera Blue, The Veronicas and San Cisco.