While Missouri Governor Mike Parson has given the go ahead on concerts starting as soon as today, Australia’s Chief Medical Officer Brendan Murphy, said he would not consider allowing large-scale gatherings until the nation has a vaccine for the deadly respiratory virus. And some forecasts predict large-scale vaccines won’t be available until mid-2021 at the earlier.
The issue is multilayered and depends on how flat Australia can flatten its curve of infections, in which case certain restrictions may be eased little by little on a trial basis. But even if the curve continues to flatten, Murphy says “music festivals and indoor concerts would likely be two of the final restrictions to be lifted.”
Another major issue, even beyond requiring the necessary funds to throw an event after over a year of no revenue, is whether the support crews will weather the economic downturn.
Haydn Johnston, co-founder of Architects of Entertainment, known for producing Splendour In The Grass and Lost Paradise, put it in blunt terms: “Will the toilet installer survive, will the grunt crew survive, will the site crew, the fencing companies, the forklift driver? If they don’t survive, we don’t survive.”
Travel restrictions are also a major deterrent in opening up festivals in Australia, which has an impressive but very limited amount of local, festival-worthy artists. While the possibility is there in a sort of ephemeral sense, artists would be required to quarantine for 14 days (after entering Australia), and the government would have to agree to bend the international travel laws to accommodate them.
“We certainly would not be contemplating large-scale gatherings,” Murphy previously told the senate about the way out of lockdown, the ABC reported. “It’s hard for me to envisage reopening of nightclubs and big music festivals in the foreseeable future. Unless you’re absolutely, completely confident about your borders, your testing, your surveillance, you can’t relax a measure of distancing.”
The Chief Medical Officer says they want to be testing 40,000-50,000 Australians daily for the virus, if necessary.