Omicron variant sees coronavirus impact live performance again

The spread of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus is once again impacting live performances, with events and festivals that were expected to mark a resurgence in the industry being canceled once again.

Following outbreaks in Newcastle last week which saw the cancellation of the Lunar Electric Festival, Faith No More, Jimmy Barnes and the Hoodoo Gurus have canceled Australian shows in the run up to Christmas.

Posting on his Facebook page over the weekend, Barnes said he was “absolutely heartbroken” over the outbreak in Newcastle, where his band was scheduled to give three concerts over the holiday period.

The outbreaks coincided with the NSW government easing its COVID public health order earlier this month, with most sites now allowing people to enter unmasked and unvaccinated.

The in-house reservations manager at one of Newcastle’s most popular live music pubs said Goalkeeper Australia he had canceled seven concerts last week, with bands voicing concerns about being stranded on Christmas Day.

Spencer Scott of the Hamilton Station Hotel said he probably should have seen the writing on the wall when he booked two hardcore punk rock bands to perform last weekend. The groups were called Plague Dwellers and I Hate People.

After a potentially infectious case was found in one of Newcastle’s largest concert halls, the Cambridge Hotel, posted on its Facebook page on December 13, “Our staff all went to get tested and once they will be negative, we will come back to rock n roll.

However, the venue subsequently announced that it would be closed until after Christmas.

In Sydney, the past week saw the cancellation of a number of live music events, including the Bad Vibrations Festival, the Loose Ends Christmas Party and Christmas Time in the Inner West.

Ticket retailer Oztix said Goalkeeper Australia more than 300 of its events during the Christmas period – from December 1 to January 7 – had either been rescheduled, postponed or canceled altogether.

A spokesperson for Oztix told The Guardian: “One trend that we see over and over again that is really worrying is that a member of a band or a tour of a band becomes close or casual contact. and must isolate himself, forcing the entire tour to a halt.

“So maybe a tour has already been rescheduled 2-3 times, the band finally starts the tour, gets a few gigs… and they have to cancel. It’s still the real heartbreak.

On Monday, a coalition of organizations in the live music and entertainment industry called again on the federal government and state and territory leaders to urgently put in place an insurance plan backed by the government to protect the live performance industry from crippling cancellations.

However, only the government of Victoria has since instituted its own state-run live music insurance product.

The statement from the Performing Arts Coalition, which includes copyright agency Apra Amcos, the Australian Recorded Music Industry Association and the Association of Artist Managers, said the emergence of Omicron shows that the crisis pandemic was far from over.

He said “for an industry that is getting back on its feet, investing nationally and working hard to get shows back on stage and on tour, the continued threat of future business disruption is very real.”

Sydney theaters maintain vaccination policies
While the NSW government now allows people to enter indoor venues without masks or vaccinations, a group of Sydney theater companies are enforcing their own COVID rules until at least January 31, 2022.

A collective of 11 Sydney theaters, including the Belvoir St Theater, the Sydney Theater Company and the Griffin Theater Company, have created a joint COVID policy that goes beyond what is mandated by the NSW government .

Their rules require that all visitors be fully vaccinated on site (except those under 16) and wear masks in theaters and indoor spaces (except for eating and drinking and excluding those under 16). 12 years old).

The State Theater has issued specific guidelines for patrons on the need to wear masks.

Stopping sports events
A number of sporting fixtures are also impacted by the Omicron variant with Big Bash League, A-League Mens and FFA Cup matches either postponed, moved or played behind closed doors.

Unable to make any matches due to cases in his team, the men’s A-League team Perth Glory will be repatriated from Queensland to Western Australia in time for Christmas.

The move follows close collaboration with Perth Glory and the governments of Western Australia and Queensland.

Players are expected to resume competition in January, depending on their physical condition, to ensure minimal impact on the team’s season.

Images: The site of the Lunar Electric music festival in Newcastle was set up last weekend but without fans (top, credit: Steve Clark) Jimmy Barnes was forced to cancel concerts in Newcastle (middle) and the NSW State Theater Safety Tips for Customers (below).

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October 18, 2021 – COVID impact sees Australian government funding live music industry and major arts organizations

October 15, 2021 – Live music industry continues to call for national event insurance scheme

October 9, 2021 – Australian Council campaign calls for vaccination as key to reopening cultural and creative venues and events

September 23, 2021 – Uneven path to return of live entertainment to Melbourne and Sydney

September 2, 2021 – 22 concert halls across Queensland receive government funding

August 18, 2021 – Victorian government further supports the performing arts industry

August 11, 2021 – Australian live entertainment groups ask for federal insurance coverage

July 8, 2021 – VMA says Australia’s vaccination key to recovery of live entertainment industry

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