More Aussie artists support Thrillsong ‘supergroup’ against NSW singing and dancing ban double standard

The movement was sparked by footage of unmasked attendees singing and dancing at a Hillsong Youth summer camp

Silverchair‘s Daniel Johns, Dylan Alcott, Gretta Ray, Ben Lee and The Delta Riggs are among the growing number of Aussie artists and music industry figures throwing support behind tongue-in-cheek supergroup Thrillsong.

Formed by a host of Australian acts yesterday (January 13), the satirical supergroup is a response to double standards around singing and dancing restrictions in NSW, citing examples from sporting and religious events.

Various Thrillsong members posted a video to Instagram yesterday outlining the cause, which garnered support from a host of Aussie acts. Silverchair’s Daniel Johns wrote “I’m in” under Montaigne‘s post in response to a tag from Jack River, while Paralympian and Ability Fest founder Dylan Alcott commented: “Shit yeah I’ll bring my tennis racquet so HOLY SPORTING EVENT IT IS!”

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Other comments came from Gretta Ray, who said she’d join “in a heartbeat”, and The Delta Riggs, who offered to be “the token Christian Rock band”.

“Welcome to Thrillsong, a collective effort by Australian music. NSW gigs and festivals are out, so we are here and ready to play your local sports event or church gathering. We accept cash, credit and RAT tests as payment,” The Jungle Giants captioned their post, while Lime Cordiale wrote: “In all seriousness, we’re here to protect our community. There are rules in place that just aren’t right.”

“Festivals, clubs and pubs are closed whilst Hillsong are getting close and sweaty in the most cringy of ways at their festival right now in Newcastle,” they continued. “If we’re shut down, shut them down too. Health workers and our community are doing it tough because [NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet] isn’t doing the right thing!”

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Sparking the Thrillsong movement was footage from a Hillsong Youth summer camp currently being held in Newcastle, in which people could be seen singing and dancing, without wearing masks or social distancing, in a music festival-like setting. With current public health orders leading to the cancellation of many live music events in NSW, these scenes from the camp drew significant criticism.

“We firmly support measures to protect our fans and communities and to safeguard our health care workers, we simply ask that if rules are made, they apply to everyone equally,” the supergroup said in a press statement. “We need to be in this together.”

NSW Health has since requested Hillsong “immediately stop singing and dancing at an event being held in the Newcastle area”, adding that “singing and dancing at a major recreation facility is in breach of the Public Health Order”.

Health Minister Brad Hazzard said that while the order didn’t apply to religious services, the event was “clearly in breach of both the spirit and intent of the Order.”

NME has reached out to Hillsong for comment on NSW Health’s statement and the formation of Thrillsong.

It comes just days after DZ Deathrays and The Jungle Giants criticised the perceived double standard, prompted by an article in The Australian that highlighted a recent Hillsong church service with a musical performance component, comparing this to the strict rules imposed on the live music industry.

A number of forthcoming live music events in NSW have been rescheduled or cancelled due to the current COVID-19 restrictions, including Grapevine Gathering, Sydney’s King Street Carnival and Tamworth Country Music Festival.

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