In an Australian music industry first, The Outback Music Festival Group has announced a new "no jab, no jive" vaccination policy for the next Birdsville Big Red Bash.
The Outback Music Festival Group is advising all current and future ticket holders, staff, volunteers, contractors and vendors that vaccination will be required to attend their events in 2022 at Birdsville and also at their Mundi Mundi Bash at Broken Hill in April.
The event is staged in remote outback locations and is camping-based, operating over five days and nights, attracting a crowd of 10,000 music fans and outback travellers from all corners of Australia.
Organiser Greg Donovan said the health and safety of patrons, staff, volunteers, contractors as well as the local outback communities is their highest priority.
"Staging festivals in such remote locations, where patrons come from all over Australia and travel through small regional and outback communities, many of which have large indigenous populations, has led us to carefully review our position on vaccinations," Mr Donovan said.
"While we respect the choice of individuals as to whether or not they decide to get vaccinated, due to the nature and location of our festivals we have decided to make vaccination a condition of attendance for everyone aged 16 and over - including patrons, staff, contractors, vendors and volunteers."
Mr Donovan said by the time the first Broken Hill Bash runs in April next year, everyone who wants to be vaccinated will have had the opportunity to do so.
"While this might impact some people's decision to attend the festivals, we know we've made the right decision to keep everyone, including small regional and outback communities, as safe as possible," he said.
The Outback Music Festival Group became the only music promoters in Australia to stage a major, multi-day festival since COVID hit when they ran the Birdsville Big Red Bash event from July 6-8, 2021.
"It feels like a miracle that we had this small magical window of time in which we were able to operate a COVID safe major event with 10,000 people in attendance in one of Australia's most remote locations," Mr Donovan said.
"The logistics and preparation that went into making that happen were extraordinary - from rapid COVID testing onsite provided by Pathology Queensland, to extreme social distancing measures and artist bubbles",
However the Delta variant has since come through making it impossible for events to operate until vaccination levels are higher.
"This is the advice coming from our expert health professionals, and that's one of the reasons we're taking this 'no jab, no jive' approach," Mr Donovan said.
"If any of our patrons, staff, contractors, vendors or volunteers are sitting on the fence about vaccination, we hope this gives them a good incentive to get the jab. The live music industry has been absolutely crippled, impacting the livelihoods of so many people from artists, production crew, festival staff, vendors, suppliers and more. We need to do our bit to help promote and advocate for vaccination, so we can all get back to doing what we love."
The Birdsville Big Red Bash has been operating since 2013, and the Broken Hill Mundi Mundi Bash has been postponed to April 21-23 featuring Paul Kelly, Ian Moss, John Williamson, Kate Ceberano and other.
The line-up and ticketing details for the July 2022 Birdsville Big Red Bash are yet to be released, along with further details on how ticket holder proof of vaccination will be monitored via OzTix.