Rhythm and Vines yet to make call as Gisborne put in Red

Source: 1News

Rhythm and Vines organisers say they are "digesting" the Government's announcement on Monday afternoon that Gisborne, home of the popular music event, would begin at the Red level of the traffic light system.

The organisers told 1News they are yet to decide if the festival will go ahead, but are "hoping" to provide an update on its status in the coming days.

"Rhythm and Vines are working collaboratively and closely with the Gisborne community including key stakeholders, Tāirawhiti iwi and local authorities and expect to provide an update on plans in due course," a Rhythm and Vines spokesperson told 1News.

"We are committed to delivering a safe and secure event for all within the Covid Protection Framework."

It comes after the announcement that Tairāwhiti Gisborne will be entering the Red light level this Friday, alongside Northland, Auckland, Taupō and Rotorua Lakes Districts, Kawerau, Whakatane, Ōpōtiki Districts, Wairoa District, Rangitikei, Whanganui and Ruapehu Districts.

The rest of the North Island will move to Orange, as well as the whole of the South Island.

Music festival file image.

It will be reviewed in two weeks, and then again on January 17. It's intended to be reviewed fortnightly from then.

During the 4pm press conference, a reporter asked Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern: "Did you basically just kill Rhythm and Vines?"

Ardern responded saying those decisions were left to the event organisers.

"We recognise that we have set in place settings for the next two weeks, if they make a decision that they will be unable to go ahead, it is one of the reasons that we did put in place a transition support regime, knowing this period is difficult for those festival organisers and know they may need extra support as we go through this transition.

"Ultimately I can't make a commercial decision but what I have been able to do is give them the best possible chance to push out that decision making and offer them some support for costs that cannot be recovered," she said.

Ardern recognised the "uncertainty", but added there were festivals in the South Island that would be able to go ahead.

"But in some regions we are in a transition, there is uncertainty and that's what that support mechanism is all about."

After delayed line-up announcements due to the uncertainty of being able to secure MIQ spots during the Delta outbreak, the festival has kept tight-lipped on the event.

A petition to cancel the event has already reached over 3000 signatures. The page was set up by a Gisborne resident to “protect our locals” from the spread of Covid-19.

Other festival events have only just confirmed their line-ups. Events like Gold Rush and Golden Lights confirmed their line-ups with a few missing international acts from the original roster.

R'n'V went off without a hitch last year with international artist Netsky headlining the festival among several Kiwi artists, including acts like Shapeshifter and Sir Dave Dobbyn.

This year is a different story with some festivals unable to cope with the uncertainty. The popular summer festival Bay Dreams hosted in Tauranga announced its cancellation earlier on this year.

The event organisers said “we are still awaiting official information from the Government on how exactly this will be facilitated in the festival environment.

However, it is evidently clear, if you wish to attend Rhythm and Vines at the end of the year, you will need to get yourself vaccinated.

The Gisborne-based event typically sees almost 21,000 people attend the festival, with close to 14,000 on-site campers.

The event has been sold out for months, but the uncertainty and lack of information from the event organisers has caused doubt in the minds of festivalgoers with people slowly reselling tickets.

Event organisers have not given a postponement date if the festival cannot go ahead.