27 Jan 2022

Thousands of music fans put on alert after Omicron confirmed in Soundsplash festival attendee

6:12 pm on 27 January 2022

One of the five Covid-19 cases linked to the Soundsplash music festival in Hamilton last weekend has been confirmed as having the Omicron variant.

Audience with hands raised at a music festival and lights streaming down from above the stage.

Photo: 123RF

The festival was named as a location of interest this morning - and thousands of festival-goers must now monitor for Covid-19 symptoms until at least next Wednesday.

In its daily briefing, the Ministry of Health said whole genome sequencing has confirmed Omicron in one of the five Auckland people who have tested positive Covid-19 after attending the event.

Interviews with the five cases will assist in deciding whether they contracted Covid-19 before or while attending the festival.

So far, 68 people who attended the festival have been identified as close contacts, and this number is expected to increase, the ministry said.

Contact tracing staff are contacting the people, who are required to follow all public health advice regarding isolation and testing.

If any cold or flu symptoms develop which could be Covid-19, the ministry is urging people to get a test and isolate at home until a negative result is returned.

Meanwhile, Auckland Grammar headmaster Tim O'Connor told Checkpoint 120 students, who self-identified as having attended the event, were asked to go home and produce a negative Covid-19 test result before coming back to school.

"We haven't had any of those results back yet."

Some parents had already contacted the school overnight to let the school know their child would be absent to get a test, after having seen the media reports about the festival being a location of interest, he said.

Parents and students have been fully supportive of the school's decision, O'Conner said.

The school decided to act before the festival was officially confirmed by the ministry as being a location of interest, in order to protect staff and students, he said.

"Given everything that was being printed or shared in the media, it became pretty clear that it was going to be a place of interest. So what we needed to do was act before students got into classrooms and then we end up with another whole issue altogether."

Waikato Diocesan is also asking students and staff to produce a negative test before returning to the school if they have been at Soundsplash.

The school's spokesperson said thankfully there was another week until most students return to school.

However, some boarders and year nines begin at the start of next week.

Moshpits were 'hardcore' at festival - musician

Musician Michèle Ducray who performed at Soundsplash on Saturday said the moshpits were "hardcore" with people dancing close together, and mask useage was low.

But Ducray told Midday Report vaccine passports were being checked.

"The moshpits were pretty hardcore especially for the bigger acts. I didn't really see any scanning in. We were definitely asked for our vaccine passports when we came in ...But not a lot of mask use... so it could definitely be one that speads [Covid-19] a bit quickly."

She said she has had a Covid-19 test today.

The organisers of Soundsplash and owners of Mystery Creek Event Centre in Hamilton have released a statement after postive Covid-19 cases were linked to the festival.

They say the event was held in accordance with the Covid-19 protection framework and that all protocols were strictly followed.

The organisers say there were a small number of reports of people attempting to unlawfully enter the event, and they were dealt with by security.

As well, police were notified.

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs