Music

Savannah in the Round country music festival team up with Queensland Health to offer Australia’s first Covid vaccines to attendees

Queensland Health has collaborated with a country music festival to get more jabs in arms in the fight against Covid-19. This current weekend’s Savannah in the Round music festival, which will occur in Mareeba in the Cairns hinterland, will be featured by John Butler, John Williamson, Lee Kernaghan, and Sheppard.

Likewise on the lineup: a vaccination hub, offering festival attendees a free dose of the Pfizer jab.

The music industry has felt the ongoing effect of the COVID-19 pandemic a larger number intensely than most, however presently a festival in regional Queensland is using its platform to urge festival participants to get vaccinated.

Savannah in the Round will happen more than three days at Mareeba, west of Cairns, this weekend and will highlight artists like Sneaky Sound System, John Butler, John Williamson, and Lee Kernaghan.

Coordinators have collaborated with the Cairns and Hinterland Hospital and Health Service to set up a pop-up clinic at the festival, which will offer Pfizer vaccines to individuals as they show up to the ground.

While the festival professes to be Australia’s first to give out vaccines, there is global precedent: last month in the UK, pop-up vaccination centers highlighted at the Reading and Leeds music festivals; and in July, an electronic pop music festival in Ottawa, Canada vaccinated many festival attendees.

As of Wednesday, less than half of Queenslanders aged 16 and older were fully vaccinated, contrasted with NSW with nearly 62%.

Festival director James Dein said the partnership with Queensland Health would add to the state fully recovering.

“Creating a festival in the middle of a pandemic is no easy task, but vaccination is the key to freedom,” he said.

“We have worked hard for over two years now on ensuring our Covid plan is best practice, and while we’re proud of the event we’ll be delivering to the Tropical North this weekend, we are urging our patrons to join us in getting the jab so that normal life can be just around the corner.”

Walk-in, register, and away you go

Festival director James Dein said the clinic would be an Australian-first.

“The music industry has been promoting and supporting and pushing for vaccination broadly through its own program, #Vaxthenation, and we thought it was a good idea and happy to support it,” he said.

“We’re absolutely proud to be supporting that and being the first festival in Australia to actually offer a vaccination pop-up hub.”

He said the development had started on a tent facility that would be used by nurses on the day.

“As you come through the front gates, fairly shortly after that … we’re building with a tent structure with a floor and an appropriate workspace for the medical people to be able to operate.

“It’s pretty easy, as I understand it, walk-in, register, and away you go.”

Around 12,000 individuals are relied upon to go to the festival for more than three days.

Mr. Dein said it was very different from last year, the festival’s launch, when ravers had to find a seat at tables because of COVID-19 dancing limitations.

“This is its first year in this large-format, it was a bit of a trial run.

“It was probably one of the weirdest music festivals I’ve ever had to run — people sitting at tables and chairs in the mosh pit.

“This year’s the fully blown deal, you can dance at this festival, you can move around, you’re not restricted to be staying in your seating.”

The individuals who want to be vaccinated should bring their Medicare cards.

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