Artists fume as Hillsong festival goes ahead under new restrictions
When New South Wales Premier Dominic Perrottet activated new restrictions on the weekend, it included a ban on singing and dancing in hospitality venues, entertainment facilities and major recreation facilities.
The prohibition included “pubs, clubs, nightclubs, bars and restaurants.”
Weddings and churches were exempt.
Victoria soon followed suit, changing density limits and ruling dance floors within hospitality and entertainment venues must close.
Several festivals were cancelled or postponed in wake of the new restrictions, including Grapevine and UNIFY Forever.
Not so, it seems, for Hillsong’s Wildlife Summer Camp, which opened with what looked suspiciously like a music festival in Newcastle last night.
Sharing Hillsong’s Instagram post to his own stories, producer What So Not said: “NAHHHHHH they can’t be serious?… 90,000 new cases today in NSW, Music Festivals made illegal but this is ‘church’ rn? @hillsongyouth IG lookin like this w/ quote: “wildlife summer camp night 1 was unreal! And we’ve got so much more in store over the next few days!…
“I don’t see masks? I don’t see social distancing? I see a lot of singing, dancing, hugging, people on shoulders? INFACT this looks like a ‘Music Festival’? Aren’t these your m8’s @scottmorrisonmp ? Thought you made this stuff illegal? If not can we have our industry back too please? #whatsthedifference”
Responding to outraged comments on the post, he added: “Church looks lit tbh. Give us a booking @hillsong we can also drop 10yr old @djsnake records.”
Rapper Illy shared the same post on his socials.
I can handle the singing, the dancing, and the no mask wearing at this Hillsong festival last night, even though it’s illegal for the entire arts industry to do the same. But playing“turn down for what” in 2022?! Too far. pic.twitter.com/byOWufUaWa
— Illy (@illyal) January 13, 2022
“I can deal with the dancing. I can deal with the singing. I can deal with the no social distancing. I can deal with the no masks. I can deal with the fact that i have already had 2 gigs not happen this year because of restrictions. I can deal with many friends having to cancel/postpone shows (off the top of my head @limecordiale @grapevinegathering @unifygathering, this week alone),” he wrote on Facebook.
“I can deal with the NSW health minister *specifically* outlawing singing and dancing at outdoor festivals the other day, an unusual attack on a specific industry without any assistance to those affected.
I can just about deal with all that.
Slumberjack chimed in as well: “‘Turn down for what’ easy to say when you have @scottmorrisonmp in your back pocket.”
The ‘Summercamp’ event, for students in years 10 through 12, will run from Wednesday 12th until Saturday 15th January.
“We do whatever we can to encourage and empower young people to make right decisions in life that will help cause them to live out their God given purpose and calling,” the event’s website states.
“All in all having copious amounts of fun and laughter with incredible sessions, fun games in their groups and time to spend in the water or enjoying the onsite festival area!”
Even the event’s promotional video looks like a music festival:
To make matters even worse, while the rest of the country waits for weeks for rapid antigen tests to restock, or pays exorbitant prices to pick one up on UberEats, Hillsong have plenty of free RATs to go around.
In fact, each festival attendee will be able to access up to two free rapid antigen tests, followed by a PCR test if they’re unable to provide a “non-negative” result.
thought you were pissed about hillsong going forth but music festivals banned? wait til you find out they got access to enough RATs to distribute to all "kids, youth, leaders and volunteers" that attend the summercamp events (see: festivals) all around the country this month pic.twitter.com/AKwuom8Dbq
— jackson langford (@jacksonlangford) January 12, 2022
While they likely secured the tests weeks ago, music festivals have been begging for similar support and resources for months.
The Australian public have also been calling for Prime Minister Scott Morrison to make RATs free and easier to access, which he has been pushing back against.
This article originally appeared on The Industry Observer, which is now part of The Music Network.