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Dutch festival organisers sue government after U-turn on COVID restrictions

ID&T and more than 30 other festival organisers have filed a lawsuit against the Dutch government after it reimposed several COVID-19 restrictions leading to further cancelled events.

ID&T, which organises festivals including Mysteryland, Sensation, and formerly Tomorrowland, announced it was initiating summary proceedings, which led to the other parties joining on as co-plaintiffs.

Ritty van Straalen, chief executive of ID&T, said, according to YourEDM: “We are overwhelmed by the support we received from our visitors, artists and partners in the past days. The fact that so many parties in the market are joining us reflects perfectly what the impact is on the entire public events industry.”

The organisers have requested the judge in preliminary relief proceedings for permission to allow public events that meet the Fieldlab conditions. FieldLab is an initiative set up by the Dutch government and the entertainment industry and has organised several test events and made recommendations based on the results.

The Dutch government lifted a large proportion of restrictions on events, venues and sports two weeks ago, before reinstating several rules until August 13. These include a ban on non-seated public events and limited capacities.

The plaintiffs have argued that the decision was “incorrect and carelessly prepared.” The hearing will take place on July 16 in The Hague.

The other parties that have joined the lawsuit include 24-uurs Solexrace, 4PM Entertainment, A Venue Events, and Absolutely Fresh, among others.

Imre van Leeuwen, managing director at F1 Dutch Grand Prix Zandvoort, which has also joined the suit, said: “As a large-scale sports event, we deal with a long lead time and large financial risks. For us it is also inexplicable internationally to not have clarity of the conditions under which we can organise the event three weeks prior to the event.

“It’s even more disappointing that, despite the good work of Fieldlab Events and the high vaccination rate the Netherlands has achieved, we may not be able to make the event a huge success with the whole world watching.”

Image: Veld Music Festival / CC BY-SA 2.0 / Edited for size

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