Organisers of cancelled music festival question why sporting events still go ahead

Organisers have question why their outdoor dance event was cancelled at the last minute while an indoor netball game was allowed to proceed.

The Paradigm Festival was cancelled by Victoria’s health authorities at the last minute despite the organisers doing everything to ensure the event complied with health guidelines.

The outdoor event in Port Melbourne had required every patron to remain seated, had three times the required number of COVID-19 marshals and would supply patrons with a Bluetooth device to track their movements.

The organisers questioned why they were forced to cancel while on the same weekend up to 5000 fans were allowed into the John Cain Arena for Super Netball.

Speaking at a media conference, Victorian COVID-19 response commander Jeroen Weimar said he understood it was “frustrating” but it was the length of the dance event that concerned authorities.

“When you’ve got interstate outbreaks happening around the place to have a major musical activity with, as I understand it, a good number of people in a confined space for many hours, I think that is appropriate [to stop it] for this particular time given the wider restrictions that we’re still operating on,” Weimar said.

“I get the people are disappointed when they work so hard to put these things together that they find that they can’t run them at a particular point in time.”

Paradigm Festival event director Lev Shani said the arts and hospitality sectors should be given the same priority as sports.

“The arts have been on the edge for the last 18 months,” he told The Age.

“We had triple the number of COVID-19 marshals that we needed. If they can put 5000 people indoors at the netball, why can’t I have 4000 people outside in a tightly controlled environment?”