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News December 30, 2021

Cancelled WA festival organisers issue statement as race day goes ahead

Cancelled WA festival organisers issue statement as race day goes ahead
Image: Origin Fields Facebook

Organisers of Perth’s Origin Fields festival have issued a statement on the cancellation of their New Year’s Eve event.

But many – including the Origin team themselves – are left wondering why the Perth Cup horse racing event planned for New Year’s Day is allowed to go ahead.

“Well it seems that the opportunity to hold our event has once again slipped through our fingers,” festival organisers said.

“In the 15 years of holding the event, we’ve never endured anything like this. Our approvals were in place, our site is already half built and no expenses has been spared but we understand that public safety has to come first.”
They voiced the frustration of an industry at the apparent bias, once again, of a sports event over music.
“It (is) just frustrating to see that horse racing and gambling takes precedence over the arts in this state and there’s no real nice way to frame that,” they said.
Western Australia’s current restrictions are in place until 6.00am January 4th, meaning a raft of cancellations for New Year’s Eve, including Origin Fields, which was scheduled to host Pendulum (DJ set), SHOCKONE, Godlands and more.
The Perth Cup will be the state’s first major COVID restrictions test event, with punters required to provide proof of vaccination upon entry.

Local music production and DJ school/studio Lab Six echoed that sentiment in an open letter to Premier Mark McGowan, stating: “It is heartbreaking to see music and arts events consistently being the first to take the fall because of an outbreak, when other industries such as racing and gambling seem to be immune to blanket rules.

“Patrons at casinos and racing events are known to become just as inebriated as patrons at music events. They are just as likely to celebrate, dance, hug, kiss, hi-five and shake hands, especially when they win a bet.”

Director Jeremy Smith asked the premier: “If you are going to use the Perth Cup as an opportunity to test Vaccination Passports, why not other open air events such as the music and arts festivals that were scheduled for NYE and NYD?
“Next time you are making these decisions I urge you to ask yourself: would you like to live in a world without music and art made by Western Australian artists? Because that’s where we are heading if this continues.”

Mr McGowan defended the decision to allow the Perth Cup to go ahead while music festivals were canned at a press conference yesterday (29th December), saying it was unfair to compare the two events.

“A dance party with hundreds, if not thousands, of people dancing together to other events which are seated and have mask-wearing in place, it’s not a fair comparison,” he said.

“It’s what we’ve had to do around these events where lots of people are dancing, not wearing masks in close proximity to one another.”

He asserted WA had offered the “best conditions” for hospitality, retail, live music, the arts and creatives sectors over the past two years out of “probably anywhere in the world”.

This article originally appeared on The Industry Observer, which is now part of The Music Network.

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