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New Zealand events still facing effects of COVID-19 pandemic 

New Zealand music festival Rhythm and Vines has been cancelled due to continuing uncertainty around COVID-19 in the country.

Originally the festival had been moved from the New Year to Easter, but with restrictions still in place organisers said they would prefer to focus their attention on the 20th anniversary of the event.

Hamish Pinkham, Rhythm and Vines co-founder, told New Zealand news website Stuff: “Given the health condition of the country, it’s in our best interests to push things out until a safer period. These are big projects and we need a good lead-in time. We’re currently not seeing enough visibility to give us confidence for Easter.”

The festival had been cancelled after Gisborne, the city where the event is held, moved into the ‘red’ setting of the Government’s plan to deal with coronavirus in December. The ‘red’ level limited gatherings to 100 people.

However, by December 30, the city had moved into the ‘orange’ setting which meant the festival could have taken place with the use of COVID-19 vaccination passes. The festival had already been rescheduled to Easter by this point.

Since January 23, the whole of New Zealand has been on the ‘red’ traffic light setting, which has proven difficult for many events including the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup currently taking place in New Zealand and Australia.

With the ongoing uncertainty, Pinkham said that promoting the event had been difficult.

He added: “We had a lot of interest in it, but it never really got the momentum it deserved, just because of the situation.

“All the industry is feeling it – we’re seeing a lot of cancellations across the board. We need to be back to normality to run the event, and have people mingling throughout the venue. Until we see that visibility from the health guidelines, we’ll just wait.”

The 20th anniversary event is due to take place in December, with a number of international acts already confirmed.

Image: Joey Thompson on Unsplash