Covid-19 Omicron outbreak: Great Kiwi Beer Festival cancelled, other events in limbo

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Covid-19 Omicron outbreak: Great Kiwi Beer Festival cancelled, other events in limbo

A number of South Island major events have been officially cancelled or left in limbo after an outbreak of Omicron has forced the country into the red light setting.

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From midnight, New Zealand moved into the new traffic light setting in response to nine Covid cases in Motueka being confirmed as the new variant after visiting Auckland.

Key events, such as the Great Kiwi Beer Festival, Warbirds over Wanaka and the Bluff Oyster Festival, have been cancelled and many others are in limbo.

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A post on the Great Kiwi Beer Festival’s social media says: “We are truly sorry this news has come so late in the piece. We understand many of you have had travel plans and arrangements locked in for some time.

“This is a devastating loss not only to the larger events but to all the breweries, food vendors, staff and sponsors who were deep in preparation for the week ahead.”

Covid-19 Omicron outbreak: Great Kiwi Beer Festival cancelled, other events in limbo

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Key events, such as the Great Kiwi Beer Festival and Warbirds over Wanaka, have been cancelled and many others are in limbo. Photo / Supplied

Warbirds over Wanaka typically attracts about 55,000 people over three days and injects more than $40 million into the Southern Lakes regional economy.

Selwyn Sounds director David Parlane said the concert would not be able to go ahead on March 5 with the 100 person limit.

“It only happened yesterday so I haven’t had a lot of chance to get my head around what it actually means besides that events can only have 100 people that are vaccinated now.

“But that [March 5] is six weeks away at this point in time,” he said.

He said it is very sad for the events industry which has been hit hard.

“We don’t have too many small events that are under 100 people.

Covid-19 Omicron outbreak: Great Kiwi Beer Festival cancelled, other events in limbo

Selwyn Sounds would not be able to go ahead on March 5 with the 100 person limit after a shift to the red traffic light setting. Photo / Geoff Sloan

“It’s very sad; not only for the artists but for the riggers, the sound people, people that have been working behind the scenes for well over a year for this event.”

In previous years the Government has provided a date where things will be reassessed but that isn’t the case this time, Parlane said.

“It is really very open at this point in time. It could be two weeks, it could be four weeks it could be six months.

“No rash decisions are being made regarding Selwyn Sounds. We will monitor the situation and keep ticket holders informed.”

No decision on what will happen for the Electric Avenue Music Festival, Urban Polo in Christchurch, South Island Wine and Food Festival is yet to be made public.

Covid-19 Omicron outbreak: Great Kiwi Beer Festival cancelled, other events in limbo

25,000 people attended the Electric Avenue music festival in Christchurch's Hagley Park last year. Photo / George Heard

Organisers of the Coast to Coast multisport event are exploring the possibility of holding the longest day race under the traffic light red setting.

Race director Glen Currie said from the information they have there is potential to run the elite race under what they describe as a “pod and wave” situation.

Currie said further time is needed to explore the feasibility from both and operational and safety perspective.

Covid-19 Omicron outbreak: Great Kiwi Beer Festival cancelled, other events in limbo

The race is due to be held on February 12.

The two-day individual, two to three-person relay and tandem teams events won’t be held at the red light setting.

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