Iconic country music festival cancelled over virus fears
The Tamworth Country Music Festival 2021 has officially been cancelled over safety concerns after it was put to a council vote on Tuesday evening.
"Tamworth Region Councillors tonight voted to suspend all Tamworth Regional Council run events for the 2021 Toyota Country Music Festival, Tamworth," event organisers wrote in a statement.
"With the current public health orders in place, which include the prohibition of music festivals and mass gatherings, coupled with travel restrictions and venue capacity challenges, Councillors could not in good conscience vote to proceed with the event."
Festival Manager, Barry Harley said: "Today is a sad day, not only for Tamworth, but for the artists, and the country music industry."
"Unfortunately, like so many others in our situation, we have had to surrender to the challenges COVID has placed on us and make the difficult decision to suspend TCMF2021."
Tamworth Region Mayor, Col Murray said: "It is hard to believe that we have had to make this decision, still, the impacts of introducing COVID-19 to our community far outweigh the impacts cancelling the Festival would have on our community."
A pub in the Inner West of Sydney has become the first venue to be shut down for a week for coronavirus safety breaches after police found a large group of patrons dancing and mingling together in a contravention of COVID-19 guidelines.
The prohibited party at Unity Hall Hotel in Balmain happened just a day after the venue was issued with a fine for earlier COVID breaches.
The Unity Hall Hotel will be closed for a week from Wednesday, in addition to copping a total of $10,000 in fines for multiple breaches.
The party involved a group of patrons dancing and mingling together in a private function room at the Balmain pub on August 8.
The regulator said the venue was not enforcing social distancing, and was allowing guests to drink while standing and walking around.
"I don't enjoy seeing businesses shut, but if they are putting everybody else at risk I have no hesitation," Customer Service Minister Victor Dominello said. "We don't have a vaccine yet, we are still living in pandemic conditions and if people have any doubt about the severity of it, look at Victoria."
The regulator said police attended the hotel on August 8 in response to a complaint from a member of the public, where officers discovered the large booking.
Police fined the venue $5000 for failing to follow the rules, and referred the matter to Liquor & Gaming NSW.
The Unity Hall Hotel had earlier copped a fine of $5,000 after failing an inspection on August 5.
"To repeatedly not comply with the Public Health Orders poses a clear and significant risk to public health," Liquor & Gaming Director of Compliance Dimitri Argeres said.
In a statement, hotel licensee Geoff Roddy apologised "unreservedly" over the breach.
"I acknowledge that I did not fully understand every aspect of the ever-changing regulations and I should have," he said.
Mr Roddy said health authorities require "very high" standards.
"But I recognise that the consequences of this virus are severe and are not to be taken lightly," he said.
He said the hotel has implemented procedures that go "above and beyond what is required of hotels" since the breaches were identified, but apologised "unreservedly" over the matter.
Inspectors from Liquor & Gaming, SafeWork NSW and NSW Fair Trading have now issued a total of 108 fines to NSW hospitality businesses, amounting to $480,000.
NSW Health are advising anyone who was present at the Bavarian Night Dinner at the Oatlands Golf Club on September 4 between 6.30pm and 8.45pm to immediately seek testing after a COVID-19 case was confirmed as being present at the venue.
The Paperboy Café in Concord was also visited by a confirmed COVID-19 case on September 6 between 10am to 12pm and those also in attendance should immediately seek testing and isolate.
Anyone who attended the following venues at the below times are considered casual contacts and must monitor for symptoms and get tested immediately should they occur. After testing, they are advised to remain in isolation until a negative test result is received:
- Stanhope Village Shopping Centre, including Kmart Stanhope Gardens, on Monday, September 7 between 8.30am-9.30am
- Clovelly Hotel on Saturday, September 5 between 12:45-1:45pm
- Rouse Hill Town Centre, including Target Rouse Hill, on Saturday September 5 between 12.30pm-1.30pm
- Fitness First Maroubra, 737 Anzac Parade Maroubra, on Saturday, September 5 between 8am-12pm
NSW Health is working with Fitness First to identify people who attended the Maroubra gym that morning, and will directly advise those who are considered to be close contacts.
Originally published as Tamworth Country Music Festival cancelled over COVID fears