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Music for the People

With crews already onsite, stages, and infrastructure already in place, Bluesfest was cancelled last month. As an artist, if you were travelling any distance to get to Bluesfest, you booked other gigs around your festival shows. Brisbane went into lockdown for three days. As that happened, artists and crew were notified by the news that thousands of dollars worth of gigs had just disappeared.


For some, this was their first work in more than a year. And then it was gone.

The ripple effect of that decision has now been felt in Newcastle, with our first international festival since 2019 due to open its gates on May 1. Now, due to the uncertainty, it has been postponed again until 2022.

This was a devastating blow to both the promoters and the ticket holders. It’s ironic that music promoters and stakeholders held a meeting to discuss social distancing strategies and capping numbers to a few thousand people in the venue that the week prior had hosted 25,000 people for a football game.

It’s an irony not lost on this writer. Perhaps if the lead singer from Cheap Trick pulled on some boots as he took to the stage, he might be allowed to make a living?

The statement from the Under the Southern Stars promoters in part reads as follows:

“We are as upset about this as you are! The Under the Southern Stars spectacular concert series featuring Cheap Trick, Bush and Stone Temple Pilots has regrettably and unfortunately been postponed. Again.

“Given the disappointingly slow roll-out of the vaccine by the Government, there is no confidence that we can keep all safe and proceed as planned at our festivals this May. The continuing mismanagement of the COVID-19 situation at all levels of government has led to numerous inconsistencies and ongoing broken promises by officials that ultimately affect the safety of our patrons, artists and our crews, both domestic and international. So much so that the situation presents too much to risk to go forward with the dates as planned at the end of April and into May 2021.

“The very recent eleventh-hour cancellation of Byron Bay Bluesfest by the NSW government on the eve of the landmark festivals start date over Easter was an incredibly disheartening display of what could happen to our patrons, artists and crews – being left stranded high and dry only moments before one of our events is set to kick off. We wish to protect all and avoid a situation such as this.

“To keep all involved as safe as we can and limit the possibility of getting stuck in the middle of further snap lockdowns, border closures and other knee-jerk reactions, we have to move Under The Southern Stars to a time that gives the series its best chance of running smoothly, as planned and ultimately allowing for the best experience possible to all ticket holders. This is not a decision that we have taken lightly, but the safety of all is our motivation.”

Under The Southern Stars promoter, Andrew McManus has issued the following statement:

“We ask you all to continue to believe in us. We must protect our artists and patrons. We get it... how many times can the Australian system force another postponement? So we are making the hard decision to reschedule Under The Southern Stars to the first quarter of 2022 and ask that all our valued supporters hold on to their tickets. In return, we will be announcing some truly exciting additions to the line-up and festival circuit,” said Under The Southern Stars Promoter, Andrew McManus.

“We sincerely apologise for the situation and ask once again for our loyal patrons to #keepyourticket and stay tuned. Not only for new dates, but we are planning on making UTSS bigger and better. It will absolutely be worth the wait.”


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