It may seem trite, but there's simply no overstating the adverse impact COVID-19 has had worldwide. One of the most devastating casualties of this period (there are many) is Australia's music industry. Prior to the pandemic, musicians and stakeholders were experiencing a new found confidence; but without crowds to perform to and gigs to attend, what little strength that was built by the removal of lockout laws has given way underneath strict lockdowns.
Anyone with access to Instagram in the last 24 hours may have picked up on some curious stirrings from our favourite Aussie artists and bands. Clips of static, simply captioned with "Stop the Interruptions" began to emerge on our feeds last night. At first these two things seemingly don't correlate. We now know these mysterious videos were orchestrated to preface a much larger message; #VaxTheNation. It's never been more clear that our only way out of lockdown and onto the dance floor of our favourite musicians is by having at least 70% of NSW and more broadly Australia vaccinated. Now the music industry is uniting in a common chorus calling for everyone to get vaxxed ASAP.
The campaign, aptly titled, Vax The Nation, is led by the recently-established Live Industry Venues & Entertainment Alliance (LIVE) and the website offers information and direct links to vaccination booking portals for every state across Australia. So far over 400 people across the music and entertainment industries have signalled they're on board with signatories like Flume, Courtney Barnett, Archie Roach and Ben Lee.
"Music and events bring people together, COVID-19 pulls people apart. Let’s not let it win. It’s time to say goodbye to uncertainty. Don’t procrastinate, vaccinate," explained The Jungle Giants as part of the campaign.
Released alongside the campaign is a goosebump-inducing video that stitches together scenes of punters dancing, singing and getting wrapped up in the sounds of their idols on stage, all while Powderfinger's My Happiness plays in the background. The sight is a stark reminder of what we're missing and it's this sentiment that the campaign pivots off, appealing to our nostalgia for the humble gig so that we might get immunised and the music industry at large can begin to reopen once more. A worthy cause.
On Instagram, Georgia Maq from Camp Cope opened up about being a part-time nurse and her role in the vaccination rollout in Melbourne.
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While many musicians have demonstrated their unflinching support for Vax The Nation, Guy Sebastian's own involvement comes with a side bar. Despite being a listed supporter on the campaigns website and receiving both jabs, he spoke out on Instagram to apologise for his original post in support of the movement, saying, “I would never, ever tell people what to do when it comes to their personal health choices.”
“I’ve always done everything that I can to support my industry but the campaign was posted to my page without my direct involvement. Whilst I, like everybody else in my industry, want things to get going again, it is not my role to communicate in a way that that post was communicating," he continued.
Although some commentators have pointed out that this position contradicts his role as an ambassador for Nature's Way Vita Gummies and sensed that his motives to distance himself from the campaign were to ensure he wouldn't isolate followers who are anti-vaxxers.
Here at RUSSH we're missing our friends and family more than ever and reopening is at the forefront of our minds. If like us, you're wondering how NSW's lockdown is going, we've created an easy-to-digest explainer on how the state government plans to reopen in October. As always, we suggest you follow official health advice so that whole process can occur sooner than expected.