'No Jab, No Jive', Calls To Action & Vaccine Rebranding: A Round Up Of Australia's Vaccine Progress

20 August 2021 | 2:56 pm | Tiana Speter

"We know we are not alone in the belief that the more we vaccinate, the safer we become as a community."

A round up of the current Australian vaccine rollout and future plans for live events.

A round up of the current Australian vaccine rollout and future plans for live events.

With today's announcement that Sydney's lockdown will extend for at least another month, the status of live events around the country continue to remain in flux with a horde of postponements and cancellations this week for an array of artists and festivals, including Bluesfest's devastating rescheduling announcement earlier this week and this morning's confirmation that this year's planned Splendour In The Grass will be pushed back to 2022.

And while many in and around the music industry continue to advocate for firmer financial support from the State and Federal Governments - seen with particular vigour via Melbourne singer songwriter Alex Lahey's open letter to Scott Morrison earlier in the week - some major progress has also been made with Australia's vaccine rollout, as well as the announcement of some huge changes coming to various live events, vaccine incentives and the recent name change for Australia's AstraZeneca vaccine to bring it in line with European countries and Canada. 

According to the Australian Government Department of Health in the vaccination rollout update released on Thursday 19 August, over 10 million Australians have had at least one COVID vaccine dose, and close to six million people are now fully vaccinated. 

While the Government's early 2021 plans to have the entire country vaccinated by October have fallen by the wayside, plans to hit the 70% and 80% government vaccination thresholds of people aged 16 and over before the end of the year could still track.


In another huge step forward for Australia's vaccination rollout this week, following concerns raised earlier this month about Australia's AstraZeneca vaccine not being approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA), the vaccine has officially been rebranded as Vaxzevria, bringing the name in line with Europe and Canada, and alleviating some of the possible hindrances on future international travel for touring artists. 

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With so many changes and implications for Australians and their futures, what does this mean for live events and the music industry in the short term future? Here's some of the latest updates from around the industry regarding vaccinations.

VACCINES NOW REQUIRED FOR TWO MAJOR OUTBACK FESTIVALS

Outback Music Festival Group announced today their new 'no jab, no jive' policy for two of their major outback events; the new Broken Hill Mundi Mundi Bash, taking place in April and August next year, and the 2022 edition of the iconic Birdsville Big Red Bash, which earlier this year set the World Record for people doing the Nutbush, aka dancing en masse to in unison to Tina Turner's Nutbush City Limits.

Following the necessary rescheduling of the inaugural Broken Hill Mundi Mundi Bash originally set to take place next month, The Outback Music Festival Group still hold the privilege of being the only music promoters in Australia to stage a major, multi-day festival since COVID ramped up down under, with the Big Red Bash running earlier in July to great acclaim. And while the decision to implement a firm vaccination policy for their future events is a huge step forward for the entire industry, it was certainly not one made lightly. 

“Staging festivals in such remote locations, where patrons come from all over Australia and travel through small regional and outback communities, many of which have large Indigenous populations, has led us to carefully review our position on vaccinations," said founder and managing director of The Outback Music Festival Group Greg Donovan.

“Whilst we respect the choice of individuals as to whether or not they decide to get vaccinated, due to the nature and location of our festivals we have decided to make vaccination a condition of attendance for everyone aged 16 and over - including patrons, staff, contractors, vendors and volunteers. 

"This will offer all in attendance the best available protection against COVID-19.  It will also ensure that remote communities are protected as much as possible from our patrons travelling through and visiting these towns and communities.”

With the new condition of entry imposed on the Broken Hill Mundi Mundi Bash, current ticket holders are eligible for a refund for anyone unable to attend due to the new policies in place.



INCENTIVES FOR VACCINATION

Outside of the some organisations and events looking to or already in motion to implement a vaccination policy for upcoming events, many other incentives and campaigns are already happening around the country, including a campaign in Melbourne to donate funds to Support Act's Crisis Relief Fund.  

With some of Melbourne's leading businesses, organissations and entertainment companies, including the City Of Melbourne, Herald Sun and Warner Music Australia, joining forces with Rock Posters - Australia's largest poster company - the Mighty V Campaign has launched this week to encourage Victorians to get their COVID-19 vaccinations to help the city reopen and relaunch the city's beloved live events and venues.

The month-long Mighty V Campaign has been put in place to nudge and guide those who may be hesitant to get vaccinated, as well as those who haven't yet booked in, to lock in their doses via one of the largest outdoor campaigns in recent times.

“For 35 years, Rock Posters has been privileged to work with so many passionate artists, athletes, comedians, brands and beyond,” said Marcus Seal, general manager of Rock Posters.

“We know we are not alone in the belief that the more we vaccinate, the safer we become as a community, which allows us get out and enjoy the return of live entertainment and sport. I am so proud we have received such comprehensive support from our many sponsors. 

"Each has donated to Support Act, they are the ones who are helping us take a step forward, without leaving our brothers and sisters behind.”

This 22 partner organisation via The Mighty V will directly aid Support Act to provide some much-needed support to those around the music industry who have lost their work and their livelihoods amid the ongoing snap lockdowns and restrictions as Australia's COVID crisis rages on.

Also in Victoria, Music Victoria has launched #GetVaxxed4Vic to encourage Victoria's music professionals and music lovers to get vaccinated, with a huge focus on social media support to help get live music back on track. 

Late last month, The Green Room With Tiana Speter podcast took a look at the issues facing the Australian music industry a year and a half into the battle with COVID-19, speaking with a panel of industry leaders, politicians and artists about the ongoing impacts. Listen here.