Entertainment and hospitality industry haemorrhaging
16 March 2020, Written by David Simmons
Blues Fest in Byron Bay, Vivid Sydney 2020, and a string of corporate conferences and events around the country have been called off, leaving thousands without income for an indefinite period of time.
Mass cancellations of major music festivals, conferences and events are decimating the entertainment and hospitality industries as a recommendation to avoid mass gatherings takes effect today.
Sydney's major conference centre, ICC Sydney, says it is experiencing a significant number of cancellations because of Covid-19.
"Along with the rest of the industry, we are seeking further clarification on the recommendation of "all non-essential organised gatherings of 500+ people or more should not go ahead from Monday 16 March," made by the Prime Minister [on Friday]," says ICC Sydney.
"We are currently working with our state authorities, Business Events Council of Australia and Federal Government to confirm the exact position and implications."
Sydney ICC says many clients have been cancelling events, but others, like Salesforce, are pivoting instead to livestreams and digital initiatives to make sure the large events go ahead as planned.
"A significant number of events have already been cancelled, with a great number looking to reschedule later this year and in early 2021," says ICC Sydney.
"Some are still going ahead with organisers looking at different delivery methods like live streaming and digital conferencing."
"It is up to the individual clients and event organisers to announce and publicise their cancellations or postponements, not ICC Sydney, but two prominent ones which have been announced publicly are Salesforce scaling to an online broadcast and Amazon."
Melbourne's major conference centre, MCEC, says it is still awaiting further direction from the Victorian Government.
"The health and safety of our people, customers and community is our priority, and we will be working to ensure we are in the best position, with the latest information from the Government, to respond effectively," says MCEC.
"MCEC will work with those event organisers who are affected to find alternative arrangements, should their event need to be postponed or cancelled as a result of this measure."
Music festivals have proven to not be immune to the spread of the infection, with Byron Bay Blues Fest calling the event off today.
Bluefest Group of Companies executive chairman Peter Noble OAM thanked everyone for their support, and said emails and posts received were "deeply appreciated".
"It is obvious we will not be on this Easter. We are heartbroken as we believe we were presenting one of the best ever bills of talent for you," Noble said in a statement this morning.
"I was in discussions right through last week with every headliner they ALL said they're coming as long as nothing occurred to prevent them from doing so.
"That is the level of commitment that our artists have, and I am proud of that."
Organisers are now working through how to move forward and to provide further details.
Popular Sydney music and arts festival Vivid has also cancelled its 2020 edition because of coronavirus conerns.
NSW Minister for Jobs, Investment, Tourism and Western Sydney Stuart Ayres says the decision, while disappointing, was the right thing to do in order to control the spread of infection.
"Vivid Sydney is a bright star of Sydney's event calendar so the decision to cancel was not taken lightly," says Minister Ayres.
"As the event owner, we must follow the advice of health officials to ensure the health and safety of our citizens and everyone involved with Vivid Sydney."
"We are currently working through the full implications of the cancellation and will provide further information and advice as soon as it's available."
Business News Australia
Author: David Simmons