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Australian festivals cancel early 2021 editions

Unify Gathering, Golden Plains and CMC Rocks QLD have cancelled next year's events due to uncertainty about future Covid restrictions

By IQ on 09 Dec 2020

Victoria festival Unify Gathering will not go ahead next year

Victoria festival Unify Gathering will not go ahead next year


image © Unify Gathering/Kieran Tunbridge

A swathe of Australian festivals have cancelled their early 2021 editions due to uncertainty about future Covid restrictions on mass gatherings and international travel.

Unify Gathering, a three-day event in Victoria dedicated to punk and hardcore music, is the latest festival to cancel its 2021 edition, which was planned for March.

A statement from the annual boutique camping festival says: “We’d been hoping to have enough clarity to announce the festival today, with the view to have it take place in late March. However, without enough assurances that the event can go ahead in a safe and financially viable way, we don’t want to take any risks.”

Organisers say they plan to keep much of 2021’s previously announced line-up for next year’s edition. The all-Aussie lineup was slated to replicate the bill of Unify’s 2015 debut event, which featured the likes of The Amity Affliction, Northlane, In Hearts Wake, Thy Art Is Murder, Hellions and more.

“Without enough assurances that the event can go ahead in a safe and financially viable way, we don’t want to take any risks”

In place of a live event in 2021, the festival has partnered with hard rock radio network The Faction which will host a hard rock radio takeover, scheduled to take place between 15-17 January.

Victoria-based festival Golden Plains, similarly scheduled to take place in March 2021, has also been cancelled three months after the postponement of its sister festival Meredith Music Festival.

Next year’s edition would have marked the fifteenth iteration of the event, which typically takes place annually across the March Labour Day long weekend.

In a statement, ‘Aunty Meredith’ says: “The Space-Time Continuum has wibbled, and it has webbled, but it has not wobbled open wide enough to grant safe passage for Golden Plains this Autumn.”

“When favourable atmospheric conditions return, the full, rolled-gold, four-dimensional GP experience will land again. All dancing, all singing from the same songbook, in a close encounter of the Fifteenth kind. One more spin around the sun should do the trick.”

Golden Plains’ 2020 edition featured the likes of Pixies, Hot Chip, Stereolab and Sampa the Great and was one of the final large-scale festivals to take place in Australia before the pandemic took hold.

Back in September, Meredith too announced that it would not be going ahead as planned, noting that the Covid-19 pandemic and its associated restrictions made it impossible to hold the festival’s 30th-anniversary celebrations in its usual format.

“Until we can put on a festival that lives up to the expectations of our fans, we’re going to postpone. We won’t put on a second-rate event”

Elsewhere, the organisers behind country music festivals CMC Rocks Queensland have announced that the event won’t return until it can book international acts with confidence.

In a joint statement, Potts Entertainment, Chugg Entertainment and Frontier Touring said the ongoing pandemic and subsequent restrictions mean that the staging of the event is not possible.

“As such, organisers have today announced that the March 2021 festival will not proceed as planned and will instead be postponed to 2022,” they said.

Festival director Michael Chugg said organisers would not stage a subpar festival. “Everyone knows that CMC Rocks QLD is the place they go to see their favourite international and Australian country artists in action and discover new favourites,” he said.

“Until we can put on a festival that lives up to the expectations of our fans, we’re going to postpone. We won’t put on a second-rate event”.

The 2021 event will be postponed, and event organisers will instead focus on 2022.

This year’s event, which was due to take place in March, was cancelled a week out from the event after prime minister Scott Morrison banned “non-essential” gatherings of over 500 people.

The annual three-day camping festival, which has been running since 2013, usually takes place at Willowbank in Ipswich.

 


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