Tuesday 05 July 2022

Festival fans protest government restrictions in event sector

Protestors take to the streets of Amsterdam. Photo: DutchNews.nl

An estimated 70,000 clubbers, music professionals and members of the events industry took to the streets on Saturday in a protest against renewed restrictions on live music events.

The demonstration was organised by Unmute Us!, a hastily formed collaboration of over 1000 organisations within the events sector, all frustrated by the government announcement on 13 August that festivals would not be reconsidered until 20 September, and that nightclubs would remain closed until at least 1 November.

In place of the cancelled festivals, convoys of trucks carrying DJs, smoke machines and sound systems formed six simultaneous street parties, leading revellers brandishing placards through Amsterdam, Eindhoven, Groningen, Nijmegen, Rotterdam and Utrecht – all demanding that events resume in full capacity on 1 September.

Restrictions were reinstated on nightlife after the reopening of large venues in June led to a third wave of infections and an apology from prime minister Mark Rutte. But the decision to allow sporting events such as football matches and Formula 1 in Zandvoort to go ahead has angered the events industry, who see it as a double standard.

Speaking to NOS Radio 1 Journaal, Jasper Goossen, the initiator of Unmute Us!, expressed his frustration at the department of health’s apparent u-turn. ‘If you go to an event, you are tested, and infection is removed,’ he said. ‘These studies were carried out in partnership with the government. We do not understand why they are now being ignored.’

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