Hillsong Church Event Compared to Music Festival ‘Clearly Violates’ NSW COVID Restrictions

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A religious organization has come under fire for violating COVID restrictions by hosting an event with live music, dancing and no social distancing, while other music festivals were forced to cancel.

Changes to public health orders implemented on Tuesday saw singing and dancing at indoor and outdoor festivals banned across New South Wales in a bid to mitigate the skyrocketing number of cases.

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The restrictions forced festivals, including the Grapevine Gathering, to postpone or cancel their events, while large religious gatherings were allowed to take place.

This religious gap has enabled Hillsong Church to host a three-day ‘youth summer camp’ event in Newcastle this week, Wednesday through Saturday.

Hillsong Church has come under fire for hosting an event with live music, dancing and no social distancing, while festivals were forced to be canceled due to COVID restrictions. Credit: Instagram / @hillsongyouth

But videos have since emerged of hundreds of maskless participants singing, dancing and mingling inside a large tent as the performers sang on stage.

The footage prompted a massive backlash from artists and fans across NSW, as people criticized the “double standard.”

“Clearly in violation”

NSW Health on Thursday asked Hillsong to “immediately stop singing and dancing” at the event because it was a “violation of public health order.”

Participants can be seen dancing and singing without masks or social distancing
Participants can be seen dancing and singing without masks or social distancing Credit: Instagram / @hillsongyouth

Health Minister Brad Hazzard said while the health ordinance did not apply to religious services, it applied to major recreational facilities.

“This event is clearly in violation of both the spirit and the intent of order, which is in place to help keep the community safe,” he said in a statement.

Chief Medical Officer of Health Kerry Chant has said singing and dancing at large events poses a high risk of transmitting COVID.

NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard said the event was clearly in violation of public health.
NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard said the event was clearly in violation of public health. Credit: PAUL BRAVEN/AAPIMAGE

NSW Police said they “will be in contact with the organizers of an event …

He would not comment on whether fines would be imposed or whether the event would be canceled.

Hillsong defends the event

Although the event sang, danced and performed live music on stage, Hillsong defended the “summer camp” by claiming that it was an “annual high school youth camp” and “does in no way resembles a music festival “.

The religious group says on its website that it is committed to holding “COVID safe summer camps” and “all activities will be carried out in accordance with government health orders and applicable COVID safety plans.”

Hillsong said in a statement that “outdoor Christian services” involving chanting are held during the camp, but they were only a “small part of the program.”

Young people can be seen dancing and singing to live music, but Hillsong maintains the event has nothing to do with a music festival
Young people can be seen dancing and singing to live music, but Hillsong maintains that the event has nothing to do with a music festival “in any way”. Credit: Instagram / @hillsongyouth

He said the video of maskless youths singing and dancing – shared on Hillsong Instagram – “mirrored a few minutes” of that part of the program.

“We follow strict COVID procedures and adhere to government guidelines,” the statement said.

Hillsong said it provided rapid antigen testing, face masks during travel, and deep disinfection and cleaning procedures.

A slap in the face ‘

Musicians and fans alike called the event a “double standard”, with Brisbane rockers DZ Deathrays calling it “a slap in the face of the arts industry”.

“There are rules in place that just aren’t correct,” Sydney pop rock duo Lime Cordiale wrote on social media.

“Festivals, clubs and pubs are closed as Hilsong draws closer and sweats… confusing? », They wrote.

Members of the industry fought back at the event, taking to social media to form a parody supergroup called Thrillsong.

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“Welcome to Thrillsong, a collective Australian music effort,” The Jungle Giants wrote on Instagram.

“The NSW concerts and festivals are over so we’re here and ready to play your local sporting event or religious gathering.

“We accept cash, credits and RATs as payments. “

Brisbane indie rockers were joined by Australian talent including Jack River, Confidence Man, Illy, Odette, What So Not who all called the

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