Festivals are totally out of the question until a COVID-19 vaccine is found, so don’t bother making plans for at least the rest of the year. That’s according to Australia’s Chief Medical Officer Brendan Murphy, who reckons festivals will be one of the last things to reopen as lockdowns are gradually being eased in NSW, Queensland and Western Australia.

The revelation came from a briefing Murphy gave to Kiwi politicians about Australia’s coronavirus lockdown.

“It’s hard for me to envisage reopening of nightclubs and big music festivals in the foreseeable future,” he told New Zealand’s Epidemic Response Committee from his office in Canberra.

“We certainly would not be contemplating large-scale gatherings.”

He described Australia’s path as “long-haul” with “measures in place that are pretty significant”.

While students slowly return to school, beaches gradually reopen and people are allowed to invite mates over once more, easing the ban on large gatherings is out of the question.

“Unless you’re absolutely, completely confident about your borders, your testing, your surveillance, you can’t relax a measure of distancing,” Murphy added.

“There is great concern, that if we relax too much too quickly, we could get a second wave as seen in Singapore,” he also told an Australian parliamentary inquiry last week.

Singapore was previously hailed as a coronavirus success story, however the nation has since experienced a spike in cases after a strict lock down was not enforced.

Back in Australia, the list of festivals which have fallen victim to the coronavirus lockdown is already long. Among them are Groovin The Moo, Spelndour In The Grass, Download Festival, Dark Mofo and Bluesfest.

Most researchers agree it’ll take at least a year to develop a COVID-19 vaccine, meaning the lockdown may impact festivals well into 2021.

It looks like we’ll be having a lot more virtual gigs for the time being.

Image: Getty Images / Martin Philbey