Rhythm and Vines co-founder has two opinions on “discriminatory” Covid-19 vaccine passports

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Participation in festivals should only be reserved for double vaxed this summer (file photo).

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Participation in festivals should only be reserved for double vaxed this summer (file photo).

A co-founder of one of New Zealand’s biggest music festivals believes Covid-19 passports won’t be around for long.

Andrew Witters, who founded Gisborne’s Rhythm and vines The New Years Eve festival in 2003 with Hamish Pinkham and Tom Gibson, is surprised that the government has chosen to introduce vaccine certificates for major festivals as countries around the world begin to remove them.

This includes Denmark where over 80 percent of the population is fully vaccinated and England where over 70 percent is fully vaccinated.

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It comes as Witters prepares for the second round of his new South Waikato-based camping and music festival. This week-end which will take place at the historic Okoroire hotel near TÄ«rau in January.

An expected crowd of around 3,000 will have access to natural spas, a 9-hole golf course, tennis courts, a restaurant, a pub and a native forest.

Passports will likely be mandatory after the government announced earlier this month that it was seeking to enforce their use for major festivals. Vaccination certificates are expected to be launched in November.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, pictured on Rhythm and Vines, recently announced that a certified festival vaccine will be launched by November.

GLENN MCCONNELL / STUFF

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, pictured on Rhythm and Vines, recently announced that a certified festival vaccine will be launched by November.

While happy festivals can continue, Witters said such a system was discriminatory.

“I would be surprised if the vaccination passport lasts more than two years. I know there are countries that have already got rid of it because it is discrimination, ”he said.

He said passports were not the only concern of festival organizers.

“The next problem is the MIQ spaces for internationals which don’t look so healthy right now,” he said.

“It’s really tough for Rhythm and Vines. I think we hope that by Christmas things will start to return to level 1.

Despite the policy he said he felt positive This week-end go ahead in South Waikato and attract a large crowd. In 2020, when it was launched, around 1,000 people attended.

“I moved to Rotorua three years ago now and the reason I moved there was because I felt there might be another location in the Waikato / Bay of Plenty for a festival of camping, ”he said.

“We built a lot of showers, toilet blocks and infrastructure that only goes to one event, so I thought how cool it would be if we could get a lot of that equipment back, very good staff and experienced staff and use it to do something in the Waikato.

“I still needed a few operators from a younger demographic and James Bristow and Kurt Barker of NexGen Touring, who run The Longline Classic which sold out last year, were excited about the idea. .

“Last year we ended up having 1000 people having a great time and we were able to understand how the site works. Our goal this year is to reach 3000 people with 2500 campsites on site and if that works our goal is to reach 5000 people in two years.

The gardens of the Okoroire hotel near TÄ«rau will once again be filled with music during this weekend.

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The gardens of the Okoroire hotel near TÄ«rau will once again be filled with music during this weekend.

Witters said lineup for the festival, which in 2020 drew Mild Orange, Wax Mustang, Hollie Smith, Eno X Dirty, Bontempo and Sly Chaos, will be announced in the coming weeks.

“We are teaming up with Bay Dreams promoter Mitch Lowe of Audiology Touring, so hopefully this will give the company a little more experience, not only financially, but also a lot of networking. We are really excited, ”he said.

He said a five-year contract with the site is currently being sought with funding from the South Waikato Investment Fund Trust (SWIFT).

“The idea with consent is to have it where we can also have a second show, maybe a country or blues festival,” he said.

“One of the biggest strengths of this hotel is its location on the North Island, you are not much more central so we really have to try to make it an experience, something where we can have artists. or where we don’t even have to have a line-up for it to sell out every year.


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