NSW Health has confirmed that a Hillsong Church summer camp breached public health orders after vids emerged of attendees singing, dancing, and doing a load of stuff you’re generally not supposed to do right now.
Hillsong is currently hosting a three day youth camp south of Newcastle and, as you may remember, NSW currently has bans on singing and dancing in outdoor and indoor venues, festivals, clubs and recreational facilities.
Those restrictions have led to a load of music festies getting postponed or cancelled over the course of this week, which of course has had huge repercussions for workers in those industries as well as for regional economies.
Hillsong, though, has defended the event, saying it wasn’t similar to a music festival “at all”.
I dunno, singing, standing on one another’s shoulders and dancing to DJ Snake and Lil John’s Turn Down For What seems pretty festival-y to me.
It looks like a music festival, it sounds like a music festival, but @Hillsong says this event is "not similar to a music festival in any way". This 3-day camp allowed, while festivals cancel over @NSWHealth bans on singing & dancing. EXCLUSIVE story on @nbnnews & @9NewsAUS pic.twitter.com/yvQqYRDcRi
— Olivia Grace-Curran (@livgracecurran) January 13, 2022
Seeing all the artists, promoters, staff and vendors in #NSW suffer after having outdoor events cancelled and then seeing THIS happening right now in NSW for #Hillsong is disgusting, a huge gut punch to the already suffering industry. Absolute double standards. #NswPol #nswcovid pic.twitter.com/fi5pyQZnrr
— Leon Sjogren (@Leonsjogren) January 13, 2022
Quick, somebody call Scott Morrison! I’m sure he’ll condemn this blatant breach of COVID restrictions!
“Outdoor Christian services are held during the camp but these are only a small part of the program, and any singing is only a small part of each service,” Hillsong said in a statement, as per the ABC.
Despite Hillsong’s protests, NSW Health have now requested that it stop any dancing or singing at the camp.
“Singing and dancing at a major recreation facility is in breach of the Public Health Order,” it said in a statement.
Health Minister Brad Hazzard confirmed in the statement that while the public health order doesn’t apply to religious services, Hillsong’s actions were still a clear breach.
“[The order] does apply to major recreation facilities and this event is clearly in breach of both the spirit and intent of the Order, which is in place to help keep the community safe.”
So much for loving thy neighbour: apparently that doesn’t extend to not giving people COVID.
Understandably, those who have once again lost work thanks to the cancellation of music festivals were pretty pissed when the leaked vids emerged.
In response, a load of your fave Aussie musicians have banded together to create a supergroup called Thrillsong, which is pretty iconic if you ask me.
Thrillsong describes itself as “the new Supergroup ready to rock your next NSW religious or sporting event”. Go get ’em, guys.
It features some of the biggest names in Aussie music, including Alex The Astronaut, Annie Hamilton, Art vs. Science, CC:DISCO!, Confidence Man, Dune Rats, Hatchie, Illy, Jack River, The Jungle Giants, KLP, Lime Cordiale, Montaigne, Odette, Peking Duk, Set Mo, Stace Cadet, Sycco, Thandi Phoenix and What So Not.
In a press release, the group explained the reason for them coming together: because at the moment, they can only play at sporting events and religious camps, apparently.
“We firmly support measures to protect our fans and communities and to safeguard our health care workers, we simply ask that if rules are made, they apply to everyone equally,” they said.
“We need to be in this together.”
The group questioned why, when health orders are created with the public in mind, there is one rule for the church and another for “a venue or festival that attracts the same number of people to dance and sing along with their favourite rock God, Goddess or non-binary deity”.
At the end, they called for consistent rules for everyone and for health care workers, communities and fans to be put first.
I’ll be the first to say it: absolute bloody legends.
Montaigne, who’s part of the supergroup, tweeted about the hypocrisy at play.
“The double standards being shown by the Australian govt around live entertainment events is absolutely buck wild.
“Takes my breath away, the brazen fuckery.”
And now thank you to Montaigne for giving me the greatest ever phrase: brazen fuckery indeed.Image: Instagram: @hillsongyouth / Thrillsong