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Nova Rock Encore reports one Covid-19 case

Austrian promoter Barracuda says that only one Covid-19 case could be linked to Nova Rock Encore, a one-day pilot event that was organised to demonstrate that live events can safely take place in Austria.

The one-off festival was organised in response to the cancellation of Barracuda’s FM4 Frequency Festival by order of the district administration.

Nova Rock Encore was based on Barracuda’s flagship festival, Nova Rock, which was also cancelled in March this year.

The pilot event took place on 11 September at the Wiener Neustadt stadium (cap. 10,000) and saw 15,000 attendees enjoy performances from Seiler & Speer, Parov Stelar, Bullet For My Valentine, Måneskin and more.

Of the 15,000 attendees, contract tracing attributed just one Covid-19 infection to the festival, according to the organisers.

Two ticketholders reported a positive PCR result in advance of the event and, therefore, did not attend.

“For months we have been working to create perfect prevention concepts and to organise a festival trusted by all sides”

According to data from the festival, the vast majority (86%) of Nova Rock Encore attendees had been vaccinated and 14% were tested in advance. One hundred and eighty visitors opted to get vaccinated at the vaccination bus on the day of the event.

Ewald Tatar, managing director of CTS Eventim-backed Barracuda, said the results were what he expected.

“For months we have been working at full speed, not only to create perfect prevention concepts but also to organise a festival that has been trusted by all sides and which has also become a great success and a guide to the cultural future of our country,” says Tatar.

“Thanks to everyone who collaborated, to the artists, to the experts, the city of Wiener Neustadt with its esteemed mayor, to all the crews and many more. With the Nova Rock Encore, something great was achieved in a very short time and with maximum commitment. One can and must be proud of that,” he concludes.

Nova Rock will return to Pannonia Fields in Nickelsdorf between 9–12 June 2022 with headliners Muse, Foo Fights, Volbeat and Five Finger Death Punch.

 


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Barracuda plans new event, Frequency fest cancelled

Baracuda Music is organising a ‘scientifically supported’ one-day festival to demonstrate how live events can take place in Austria, following the cancellation of its FM4 Frequency Festival.

According to the CTS Eventim-owned promoter, the Nova Rock Encore event will “significantly exceed the legal requirements,” by only admitting attendees who are vaccinated or can show a negative PCR test (otherwise known as the 2G rule).

The voluntary implementation of the 2G rule comes after FM4 Frequency Festival was cancelled by order of the district administration, despite compliance with all the requirements issued by the Austrian federal government.

According to a statement on the festival’s website, the city of St. Pölten – where the festival would’ve taken place – decided that outdoor events with more than 1,500 attendees that last longer than one calendar day will be prohibited from 28 July.

The sold-out event, scheduled for 19-21 August, was due to welcome 50,000 per day for an international-heavy bill which included Marshmello, Die Antwoord, Mabel, Sum 41, Martin Garrix, Chase & Status and many more.

“The cancellation of the FM4 Frequency Festival was a big mistake,” wrote the organisers. “Promises made by the minister of health, Wolfgang Mückstein, to the youth were not kept. This in no way has a positive effect on willingness to be vaccinated.”

“Events such as festivals and concerts have a positive effect on the vaccination readiness of the young population”

Currently, in Austria, only 50% of the vaccinable population are fully immunised. “Although there is a sufficient amount of vaccines available, the influx of vaccination centres has been decreasing since the beginning of summer. The number of vaccine sceptics is particularly high among younger people, according to a survey by the Integral Institute,” the organisers continues.

“Events such as festivals and concerts have a positive effect on the vaccination readiness of the young population.”

Christoph Klingler, CEO of CTS Eventim Austria, has now called for “clear and binding rules” to enable organisers to plan accordingly.

“This is the only way to plan live events and at the same time have a positive effect on the vaccination rate of the young population. Safe events for young people are an essential part of the solution and not the problem.”

Nova Rock Encore will take place on 11 September at the Wiener Neustadt stadium (cap. 10,000) with a line-up including Seiler & Speer, Parov Stelar, Bullet For My Valentine, Måneskin, Millencolin, Clawfinger, Jinjer, Russkaja and Fleks.

The festival’s planning team includes public health expert Hans-Peter Hutter and simulation researcher Niki Popper, and has received support from the city of Wiener Neustadt.

Barracuda’s flagship festival Nova Rock (55,000-cap.) was cancelled for a second consecutive year in March.

 


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Austria prepares for July reopening

Promoters and festival organisers in Austria are preparing to relaunch activities after the government made a surprise announcement that full capacity events will be allowed to resume in July.

On Friday, 28 May, the Austrian government brought forward its date for mass gatherings to restart, when it told its citizens that from 1 July onwards, all events will be possible at full capacity, including standing events, both indoor and outdoor.

Social distancing and masks will not be required, but event attendees will still need to meet one of three rules to gain admission: they must be vaccinated; they must be able to provide a negative Covid test; or they must be able to prove that they have recovered from a Covid infection.

The bold move is testament to Austria’s successful Covid vaccination drive, which has so far seen more that five million vaccines administered (to a population of nine million people), which in turn has helped the number of Covid infections drop significantly in recent weeks.

The news has been welcomed by live music professionals around the country, with many now resurrecting summer plans.

FM4 Frequency festival can take place now,” says Barracuda Music promoter Thomas Zsifkovits, who has the sold-out event scheduled for 19-21 August, with a line up that includes a hefty international presence such as Marshmello, Die Antwoord, Mabel, Sum 41, Martin Garrix, Chase & Status and many more.

“The government here has said that everybody can be vaccinated by the end of July”

Zsifkovits tells IQ that the surprise government decision has seen Barracuda staff back in the office together for the first time in months, where the excitement is perceptible as they discuss what might and might not be possible for the remainder of 2021.

And highlighting just what a game-changer the government’s announcement means for the Austrian live music community, he reveals, “Szene Open Air just called me to say that will organise their event, which they cancelled a month ago.”

The exciting news also means that shows in the autumn are now a real possibility for fans in Austria. “It’s definitely a step in the right direction, but touring will depend on other countries following Austria’s example,” continues Zsifkovits.

“The government here has said that everybody can be vaccinated by the end of July, bet we know that’s not the same in other countries. In fact, I am having conversations with agents about their acts, as we know that some of those will not be able to comply with the Austrian rules.”

However, with around 50,000 fans per day waiting to flood in through the Frequency gates, Zsifkovits is looking forward to a massive relaunch of business, while he and his peers throughout Austria also look toward the autumn schedule of shows, as well as confirming dates for 2022.

 


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