Covid-19 Omicron outbreak: NZ Fashion Week, Splore, The Others Way music festival cancelled as NZ moves to red light setting

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Covid-19 Omicron outbreak: NZ Fashion Week, Splore, The Others Way music festival cancelled as NZ moves to red light setting

An already under-pressure live events sector is grappling with the shift to the red light system – and organisers have already pulled the plug on events and festivals.

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Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced at 11am this morning the country would move to the red light setting at 11.59pm tonight due to confirmed cases of the Omicron variant in the community.

The move has resulted in the cancellation of New Zealand Fashion Week, which was scheuled to go ahead from February 7-12.

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“It’s incredibly disappointing for everyone involved that the event has been cancelled,” Dame Pieter Stewart, Managing Director and founder of NZ Fashion Week said in a statement.

“Our designers have put in a huge amount of work, as have our partners, buyers, models, production teams and a number of other people.”

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Stewart said they respected the decision of the Government to put the health and safety of all New Zealanders’ first.

Organisers of the sold-out festival Splore announced the 2022 festival scheduled to go ahead at the end of February has been cancelled.

“We’re sad that we can’t gather our vibrant Splore community and immerse in the best of Aotearoa’s music, performance, and art in the extraordinary surroundings of Tāpapakanga Regional Park,” organisers said in a statement.

“However, we understand and support the government’s decision to move to the red traffic light and minimising the risk for vulnerable New Zealanders.”

Splore festival director John Minty says they were prepared for the likelihood the festival would be cancelled for a while, but admitted it was disappointing for all involved.

“It’s really gutting because the red traffic light setting really primarily affects events,” Minty says.

“We’re [events and hospitality] really the only ones that get hurt by this, but you know, we know it’s necessary for the greater good.”

Covid-19 Omicron outbreak: NZ Fashion Week, Splore, The Others Way music festival cancelled as NZ moves to red light setting

Don McGlashan was one of 50 acts set to play gigs at an Auckland festival next weekend. Photo / File

“It’s probably better that it happened now rather than later, because obviously as you’re getting closer and closer to a festival, there’s more work being done and more cost being put in.

“So we’re just under five weeks out. So I’d rather it happen now than two weeks’ time, or three weeks time.”

The festival, scheduled for February 25-27, sold out “in a matter of hours” back in June.

“It’s disappointing – mainly for my crew obviously. We’ve been working all year putting this together, so that’s the gutting part,” Minty added.

“I’m feeling for the live music industry though. You know, it’s been really tough for the last two years. I really do wonder whether this year, quite honestly,” he says.

“Artists do it really hard, a lot of them are self employed, obviously.”

Despite the setback, Minty was pleased they’ve “managed to get two Splores done within the pandemic, period.”

“Two out of three ain’t bad if I look at it in retrospect,” Minty says.

Ticketholders will be contacted and given the option to claim a refund or to keep their ticket for the next Splore 24-26 February 2023.

And The Others Way festival was set to take over Karangahape Rd next weekend, with over 50 acts including Don McGlashan, Troy Kingi, Lawrence Arabia and Julia Deans of Fur Patrol.

It is another blow for the organisers who had to cancel the festival in 2020 as well.

A spokesperson confirmed to the Herald the event is cancelled in the wake of today’s announcement, and ticketholders will be contacted with details about refunds.

“Kia ora – it is with deep disappointment that The Other’s Way won’t be able to go ahead as planned next Saturday, January 29, under the red light setting.

“We will be in touch with more info in the next 48 hours, thank you for all your support,” a post from Flying Out on Facebook read.

Kia ora – it is with deep disappointment that The Others Way won’t be able to go ahead as planned next Saturday January…

Posted by Flying Out on Saturday, January 22, 2022

Under the red light setting, events are restricted to limits of 100 people for vaccine pass holders, including hospitality, gyms, weddings and tangihanga. Without passes, hospitality services must remain contactless and the aforementioned gatherings are limited to 25 people.

New Zealand musicians took to Twitter to express their frustrations about the further uncertainty for the arts’ sector.

Hollie Smith summed up the mood with “what’s the collective noun of depression?”

“I did my first gig band back yesterday since March. Good while it lasted,” she wrote.

“4th scheduled release tour now again postponed. I’m f***** done.”

The artist Paige echoed Smith’s feelings, writing “Picked the worst time to be an artist.

“Feeling so heartbroken for all the artists in NZ right now. Having all this back and [forth] feeling like we can’t play and then getting false hope for a bit then having stuff cancelled again.

“It’s a complete mind f***.”

Some artists were lucky enough to play major shows this summer.

L.A.B. played a show at Western Springs’ The Outer Fields this weekend, and The Beths played their five-night residency at Whammy Bar.

Popular New Years’ Festivals Rhythm and Vines and Northern Bass were unable to go ahead as planned.

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