BRISBANE — Live music is about to awaken from its lockdown slumber Down Under.
From next week, Live Nation will test a weekly series of socially distanced concerts and comedy events in Auckland, New Zealand’s largest city.
The Together Again shows will start next Friday (May 29) and Saturday (May 30) at The Tuning Fork in central Auckland, part of Spark Arena (formerly Vector Arena) with a rotating line-up of local artists and comedians.
The concerts giant is “excited to be welcoming back live events in New Zealand,” comments Live Nation New Zealand chairman Stuart Clumpas in a statement, issued Tuesday (May 19). Supported by Vodafone, the gigs are an “opportunity for us to unite and celebrate the power of live with some of the country’s first socially distanced shows,” he continues.
Performers across the first weekend include award-winning comedian Urzila Carlson alongside Ray O’Leary, Nick Rado (MC), Ruby Esther and singer Hollie Smith.
Several measures will be in place based on public health and safety advice. Among them, the venue will scale down from a capacity of 400 to 100. Gig-goers will be temperature screened on entry and will be expected to observe social distance rules during the show.
Also, staff will wear essential Personal Protective Equipment and table service will be the order of the evening, meaning no queues at the bar.
The concerts are the first since the NZ government last week announced a relaxation on some elements of lockdown, and activated Alert Level Two measures, which caps the number of people allowed to gather in one group at 10, with some exceptions.
Adds Clumpas, “Our staff have been working extremely hard to get the doors open again and we aim to deliver not only a great live experience but also one that adheres to all the extra health and safety precautions and measures that line up with the government advice for events at level two.”
New Zealand’s live music community has been hobbled by the pandemic. According to the I Lost My Gig service, event cancelations and postponements across Australia and New Zealand are having “unprecedented” impacts on the creative industries and have cost $340 million in lost earnings.
NZ’s population of 5 million has about 1,500 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 and 21 deaths have been linked to COVID-19.