Victorian ‘circuit-breaker’ lockdown throws state’s event sector in chaos
Victoria’s music and arts sector has again been thrown into disarray following the news that the state will enter a seven-day ‘circuit-breaker’ lockdown to curb another COVID outbreak.
From 11:59pm tonight (May 27), Victoria will commence lockdown after 11 new cases were recorded overnight, bringing the state’s total number of cases to 26.
While restaurants and cafes will remain open for takeaway, all indoor and outdoor entertainment venues throughout the state will be closed until midnight June 3, nullifying the prospect of any musical performances or theatre shows going ahead.
The new restrictions mean that Melbourne’s Rising Festival, which officially opened last night and had already sold 100,000 tickets, will not be able to occur, despite receiving approval from the Victorian Government and the Department of Health to go ahead yesterday.
The festival is scheduled to run three days after the lockdown is due to be lifted on June 3, however, organisers are waiting to see if the lockdown gets extended before confirming their plans. If not, they will look at whether some of the canceled shows can be rescheduled.
Other events to be impacted by the snap lockdown include the APIA Good Times national tour, which postponed two Victorian shows – Palais Theatre, Melbourne (28 May) and the Geelong Performing Arts Centre (29 May) – as well as the June 3 date at Anita’s Theatre in Thirroul NSW.
The tour features Brian Cadd, Deborah Conway, Joe Camilleri, John Paul Young, Kate Ceberano, Leo Sayer, Vika & Linda Bull and Wendy Matthews.
All shows for Reconciliation Week have also been axed, with an estimated 120 club shows scheduled for the next seven days also being cancelled or postponed.
Artists affected by the cancelations include Nina Las Vegas, Marlon Williams, Ben Elton, Tex Perkins & Matt Walker and Ed Kupper & Jim White, as well as Ngaiire, Nat Vazer, Diesel, Didirri, Bjorn Again, David Helfgott, Backsliders, The Goon Sax, The Necks, Keith Potger and Amyl & The Sniffers.
Acting state premier James Merlino used the press conference to hit out at the Federal Government and the slow vaccine rollout.
“We also know our nation’s vaccine rollout has been slower than we’d hoped. And if more people were vaccinated, we might be facing a different set of circumstances. Sadly, we’re not,” he said.
“If we make the wrong choice now, if we wait too long, if we hesitate too much, this thing will get away from us. And lives will be at risk.”