January 13, 2022 | By Bronwen Largier

Despite NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet saying that major events could proceed as planned last Friday, unless NSW Health contacted them to adjust their COVID Safe plan, on Monday NSW Health issued a blanket directive banning singing and dancing at all music festivals, including those held outdoors.

The ban effectively makes festivals unviable as it would be impossible to enforce the directive in the event environment. The ban comes at the peak of the festival season.

Festival cancellations or postponements in the last week include Tamworth Country Music festival, which postponed its festival even before the updated directive came out and Grapevine Gathering in the Hunter Valley, which was supposed to take place this week. Numeralla Folk Festival which was due to take place at the end of January cancelled last week.

In South Australia where similar bans on dancing and singing are in place and density limits are biting, metal festival Full Tilt, which was set to take place at the end of the month, cancelled yesterday.

The string of cancellations has seen renewed calls in both mainstream and music media for Federal support for festivals, including cancellation insurance. Late in 2021, after a nationwide event insurance bill was tabled in parliament, the official recommendation was for insurance to be handled by individual states and territories as they are also responsible for implementing restrictions which necessitate the cancellation of events.