Too risky for festival organisers to hold events in 2021

The current social distancing guidelines for music festivals are forcing some organisers to put everything on hold.

Social distancing guidelines mean some festivals are just not financially feasible, as in the case of the Howling Moon Blues Festival in Port Macquarie-Hastings.

Organiser Lisa Willows said she is not sure if the rescheduled event for June 2021 will still go ahead given the unfolding Covid-19 situation.

While grants are available for organisers to conduct festivals where people can carry out social distancing measures, Willows said the cost to run the festival would still not be met with less people attending the event under the health guidelines.

She was also concerned about the possibility of brand damage if the event was found to result in spreading Covid-19.

“(What happens) if a festival is the cause of hundreds of cases?,” Willows told the Port Macquarie News.

“Your brand would be damaged for ever.”

Port Macquarie Beer and Cider Festival organiser Scott Mesiti is also unsure if this year’s event will proceed after a “triple whammy” of challenging events.

“We’d like to yes but we can’t say for sure,” he told the Port Macquarie News

“We postponed the festival in November 2019 due to fires, then held the event in February in record rainfall and now COVID-19 is a huge factor.”

However, Mesiti said he was “always optimistic” with national ticket sales for shows organised by MJR Presents “maintaining a steady flow”.

“I do think people are very eager to get back to normality, as long as the event organisers can comply with COVID-19 safe standards,” he said.