The Dutch government on July 9 renewed coronavirus restrictions on live events until Aug. 13, which has placed the country’s remaining summer events in limbo.
Two of the country’s most beloved festivals, Lowlands (Aug. 20-22) and Down The Rabbit Hole (Aug. 27-29), can now no longer be certain of going ahead. The latter had been moved from its usual early-July dates to take place on the site of Lowlands in Biddinghuizen at the end of August.
However, it backtracked earlier this month after rising numbers of positive cases in the country.
“We cannot say that all these people were infected at the festival itself; it could also be possible that they’ve been infected while travelling to the festival or in the evening before going to the festival or having an after-party. So they’re (the cases) all linked to the festival but we can’t 100% say they were infected at the festival,” Lennart van Trigt, a spokesman for the Utrecht health board, is quoted in the report.
Trigt still concluded that events with a test for entry strategy should make sure tests aren’t older than 24 hours. In the case of Verknipt Festival, tests taken as much as 40 hours prior to the event were accepted.
To avoid these kinds of uncertainties about where people get infected, a properly conducted test event usually looks at a control group of people that don’t attend the event in question, in addition to the ones attending.
The prolonging of restrictions to Aug. 13, after which the Dutch government intends to review the situation for events, puts Lowlands and Down The Rabbit Hole in an “impossible situation,” as promoter Mojo stated on social media.
“We can’t keep everyone on a leash for weeks. Artists keep their agendas free to come to Lowlands, suppliers keep personnel and materials available and visitors also want to know where they stand. That is why clarity from the government is needed now and not in mid-August,” the Dutch statement translates.
Pollstar has reached out to Mojo for comment.
Update (July 20, 8.20 a.m. PST): Summary Action Against Government Paused
After the Dutch government reintroduced coronavirus restrictions, July 9, more than 40 of the country’s events organisations, led by event powerhouse ID&T, launched summary proceedings against it. The company behind festivals like Mysteryland, Sensation, Milkshake and Decibel Outdoor, and the co-plaintiffs disagree with the decision to “categorically ban non-seated public events,” according to a press release.
These summary proceedings are currently on hold, while the Dutch events industry negotiates with decision makers. If the dialogue does not result in a workable situation, ID&T will continue the summary proceedings “and force a workable situation via legal action,” according to a company press release.
ID&T CEO Ritty van Straalen said, the Dutch minister for health, welfare and sport, Hugo De Jonge, showed the willingness to enter into a dialogue with the industry. It “feels like a first step in the right direction. We hope that we can reach a constructive solution that allows events to take place in a safe manner as soon as possible,” he commented.
The main topics being discussed are: “how events, including multi-day events and those with camping, can be organized in a safe way, based on 100% capacity, without social distancing and in accordance with previous permits, and how the government can move along if there is a deviation.
“The sector wants predictable and clear conditions for the continuation of events and concretization of the guarantee fund the government initiated. Furthermore, the sector demands that the government comes up with a plan for a watertight system for Testen voor Toegang (Testing for Access), as soon as possible, so that events and festivals can still be organized in a safe manner now and in the future,” ID&T sums it up.