In yet another devastating blow to live music, the Hunter Valley’s Grapevine Gathering festival has been canned four days out from kick-off after a last minute rule-change from the NSW government, banning singing and dancing at outdoor events, as well as indoor ones.
A statement from the event’s organisers reads:
“We are extremely heartbroken to share with you that just 4 days out, we must cancel this weekend’s Grapevine Gathering NSW following a decision by the Government to amend the Public Health Order overnight which been amended to ban singing & dancing for outdoor events (until last night the ban was only for indoor activities).
We are deeply sorry this news has come at the final hour. We understand many of you have had travel plans & arrangements locked in for some time.
Grapevine Gathering NSW has had an approved COVIDsafe plan for months and we have 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.
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.
All ticket holders will be entitled to a refund. Please bear with us while we work through next steps, we will be in touch with you as soon as possible.
We appreciate your understanding & support for what is an incredibly sad day for live music.”
The event, which had lined up performances from the likes of Peking Duk, The Jungle Giants, Vera Blue, The Veronicas, San Cisco and more, had already been postponed once due to ongoing lockdowns, border closures and uncertainty around COVID-19.
The WA Swan Valley leg has already been pushed til April, while an announcement has yet to be made about whether or not the Victorian Yarra Valley leg, slated for January 22nd, will still go ahead.
However, with today’s announcement about fellow Victorian festival UNIFY Gathering — also slated for that same weekend — being postponed due to the current COVID outbreak, prospects sadly probably aren’t great.