Covid scare almost saw Auckland festival cancelled mid-event

Source: 1News

Organisers of a major Auckland festival say they considered cancelling the festival mid-event due to the same acts performing at another event which had been identified as a location of interest.

On Saturday night a festival in Tauranga which was held on January 3 and 4 was identified as a "close contact" location of interest, with the Ministry of Health telling people to isolate and get tested.

Organisers told 1News there were about 8000 people there.

At the same time on Saturday, Plane Sailing festival, which hosted 10,000 people, was getting underway in Auckland - featuring many of the same acts and with staff who also worked at the Tauranga event.

On Sunday, the Ministry of Health downgraded its advice after it reviewed the risk, it said.

Festival organiser Toby Burrows told 1News from his hotel, where he was isolating, that cancelling the Auckland event was discussed.

"It's difficult when we are in the middle of another show," he told 1News.

He said the organisers took advice from the Ministry of Health and considered the risks to their staff, the performers, and the public.

"We had to look systematically though all the people who were in the Tauranga show who was at our Auckland show."

"We worked out what staff were on the Tauranga event, we stood them down, as many as we could," he said.

The artists were already isolated backstage, he said, with limited access to the public.

Many were also in their own "bubbles".

While Burrows said he was grateful the advice had been downgraded, he said as an event organiser dealing with this was "frustrating".

"It's a difficult one," he said.