News August 18, 2021

Live music leaders say it’s too early to introduce ‘proof-of-vaccination’ policy in Australia

Live music leaders say it’s too early to introduce ‘proof-of-vaccination’ policy in Australia

As the debate around the introduction of a vaccine passport scheme continues to spread across the industry, several live music leaders have said that it’s too early to discuss enforcing a similar policy for the Australian events sector, citing slow vaccination rates and a general lack of support for the country’s touring industry.

The Music Network understands the topic of a proof-of-vaccine passport or negative COVID test to attend live events will be a point of discussion at an industry peak body meeting today, with many in the live sector being enthusiastic to introduce such measures to fast-track the return of events.

The push comes after two of America’s biggest events companies, AEG and Live Nation, announced the introduction of vaccination or negative testing policy for its audience and artists last week.

Both companies will officially launch their ‘No-vax no-entry’ policies in October, with Live Nation successfully testing its policy at last month’s Lollapalooza festival, where over 90% of attendees showed proof of vaccination on the first day of the festival.

However, those within the local events sector say that the situation in the US is drastically different from Australia’s current predicament, noting the New South Wales and Victorian lockdowns and botched vaccine rollout have rendered things difficult for the industry.

A spokesperson from Live Nation Australia confirmed to TMN that due to the current state of the live sector, it would not be introducing the same ‘No-vax no-entry’ admission policy as its US-led division in October.

However, CEO Roger Field said that Live Nation Australia would look towards working on the Government to trial similar initiatives at future events, highlighting their effectiveness within global territories.

“All over the world, showing proof of COVID vaccination or negative test is proving to be an effective way at getting fans safely back to large scale events,” Fields said.

“In Australia, when the timing is right, we need to work with Government to explore and trial these kinds of initiatives as a way to get shows back on the road.”

TEG’s CEO Geoff Jones also told TMN that while the company strongly supports the idea of a vaccine passport policy, vaccination rates would need to grow substantially before the industry could take further action.

“The vaccine rollout is the only way out of this for our country and our industry,” Jones said.

“We are not sure what is being proposed in the US will work in Australia but TEG will strongly continue to advocate that everyone needs to get the vaccine, and that we need as a country to develop a digital vaccine passport that we think the Federal Government are leading on and should continue to lead.”

Industry veteran and Chugg Entertainment chair Michael Chugg expressed a similar sentiment, saying that there is “a long way to go” in the sector’s recovery prior to introducing such a measure.

“Right now, we need all Australians to get vaccinated before there are discussions on policy, as there is a long way to go,” Chugg remarked.

A spokesperson from Frontier Touring told TMN that it was too early to discuss any measures given where Australia’s live music sector was currently at, and declined to make any further comment at this time.

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