News June 28, 2021

Hockey Dad forced to cut concert short after COVID concerns

Hockey Dad forced to cut concert short after COVID concerns

Wollongong rockers Hockey Dad were forced to abruptly end their show at Brisbane’s Fortitude Music Hall over the weekend after receiving an isolation order from Queensland Health.

The band had travelled to Brisbane from Wollongong on Wednesday, June 23 – a day prior to the Greater Sydney region being declared as a hotspot. They had self-isolated until they received a negative COVID test result.

Despite testing negative, Hockey Dad members Billy Fleming and Zach Stephenson and touring bassist Stephen Bourke were ordered to abandon their encore after an updated restriction backdated the Greater Sydney region as a hotspot to Monday, June 21.

The band were ordered to immediately vacate the premises at 6pm on Saturday June 26, and have subsequently entered an enforced 14-day hotel quarantine period.

Hockey Dad’s scheduled shows at the Fortitude Music Hall, which had already been rescheduled three times due to the pandemic, are now postponed until further notice.

Drummer Billy Fleming revealed the crushing disappointment of the sudden turn of events.

“The hardest part for me was just being on such a high from the show and dropping to such a low in an instant,” Fleming said.

“We felt amazing as we walked off stage. We really felt like we had pulled off something special. Despite all odds we were finally playing these shows after over a year’s worth of postponement.

“As the crowd started yelling for us to jump back on for an encore, we got the tap on the shoulder and were escorted away from the stage to receive the bad news. Everything was going so well up until that point. We did everything by the book. And it all just fell apart so quickly. It was really hard for us to comprehend. And it still is.”

Singer and guitarist Zach Stephenson noted that the weeks leading up to the band’s Brisbane shows as being “the most stressful time in my touring history playing in this band”.

“Ever-changing goalposts continually keep pressure on artists/venues/crew/promoters/punters to make sure they are doing everything correctly in accordance to State and Federal guidelines,” Stephenson said, thanking the band’s fans, crew, peers and the Fortitude Music Hall for their support over the past two days.

“Just want to say thank you to our entire crew and everyone at the Fortitude Music Hall for their support and understanding during this time. Biggest thanks go out to our fans who bought tickets and held them for over a year and still stick with us through these times.

“Thank you also to the whole Australian music community for your support. The messages we have received already from our peers offering to help out in any way they can has been overwhelming and gives me great hope for the music industry in Australia.”

Recently, Perth indie act San Cisco made headlines by asking for financial compensation from the Queensland Government after their show at Sunshine Coast’s NightQuarter was canceled less than 24 hours before going ahead due to alleged COVID breaches at the venue.

Queensland’s peak music industry body QMusic has warned that the state’s live music sector is on the brink of collapse due to recurring cancelations and venue capacity restrictions, with Fortitude Music Hall co-owner John Collins stating “if we don’t get support, there won’t be any live music venues left”.

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