12 Jan 2022

Northern Bass music festival in Northland cancelled due to Covid-19 concerns

3:50 pm on 12 January 2022

The Northern Bass music festival in Northland has been cancelled with organisers citing low vaccination rates and the growing threat of Omicron as reasons for their decision.

L.A.B perform on the main stage at Northern Bass

LAB performing on the main stage at Northern Bass in 2018. Photo: Kirsty-May Lillis

Northern Bass was originally scheduled to run on New Year's Eve, but was then postponed and expected to run from 28-30 January.

The government is not due to review the traffic light setting for Northland until next week, but organisers have decided they no longer want to wait for the region to shift out of red.

In a Facebook post organisers said they tried everything to avoid cancelling the festival, but ultimately they had to make the decision to keep as many people safe as possible.

Northland's low vaccination rates, the growing threat of the Omicron variant, the number of other music festivals which have ended up as locations of interest and headliners who could not travel due to having tested positive for Covid-19, were reasons cited for the cancellation.

Northern Bass festival promoter Gareth Popham told Afternoons with Charlotte Ryan the decision was hard to make but organisers were determined not to push ahead with a potential 'superspreader event'.

They had hoped Northland's vaccination rate would continue to rise over the holiday period, but Popham said it failed to reach a level that would justify holding such a large scale event.

He said the cancellation of the festival was a 'huge hit' to the event organiser's finances and they were exploring the availability of government support, Popham said.

The festival recently announced the loss of its headline act Andy C, after the British DJ contracted Covid-19, delaying his entry to New Zealand until early February.

Organisers said those who bought tickets will be contacted shortly with information about how to either transfer their tickets to the 2022/2023 festival or to get a refund.

"We can't wait to get back to our home in Northland... we already have the lineup underway and it is already shaping up to be a big one," the social media post said.

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs