Virus cancels shows across Capes

Jackson Lavell-LeeAugusta Margaret River Times
John Butler has committed to the rescheduled Good Day Sunshine in October
Camera IconJohn Butler has committed to the rescheduled Good Day Sunshine in October Credit: John Koh/The West Australian, John Koh

The Capes entertainment and events industry has been wiped out by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Drop, Emergence Festival, Good Day Sunshine, The Margaret River Regional Open Studios, Margaret River Readers and Writers Festival, Busselton Pride, library events and the South West Yoga Fest have all been cancelled or postponed.

Major gigs such as the Smith Street Band at the Dunsborough Tavern on Saturday, and the Little Lord Street Band at Settlers Tavern have also been cancelled.

Settlers Tavern proprietor Rob Gough said the venue was taking it one day at a time and paying close attention to health authorities to reduce exposure to the virus while staying open.

“We have implemented a raft of new procedures to reduce the risk of exposure to our staff and patrons,” he said.

“This includes, among other measures, social distancing to create safe distances between dining tables, and using commercial-grade spray sanitiser to wipe menus, tables, chairs, and other contact surfaces between use. We expect this to be a challenging time well into the months ahead and will adapt our business accordingly.”

Margaret River Region Open Studios chairman Jim Davies said following an emergency meeting, the event would be postponed.

“Whilst we do not have a mass audience, we feel that this is the most socially responsible course of action to take in this rapidly changing environment,” he said.

“We will reschedule the event to spring 2020, and we encourage our event supporters to continue to engage with our artists via their social media channels and websites while they continue to produce new creative work.”

The Good Day Sunshine Festival will reschedule to October 31, with John Butler, Xavier Rudd and Josh Pyke all confirming they will play the rescheduled festival.

A spokeswoman for the event said all tickets would remain valid, with no action needed.

“As a small, locally based business, we feel very fortunate to have the support of all these artists, their agents, management and, of course, patrons,” she said.

If you are unable to attend the festival in October and have bought a ticket, email a refund request to info@oztix.com.au before Monday, March 23.

A spokesperson for Emergence Festival said organisers would be in touch with ticketholders to make arrangements for the rescheduled event or refunds.

“The festival acknowledges the financial strain that rescheduling the event will place on artists, venues, service industry staff, and all our participants in small businesses,” they said.

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