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NSW Health steps in to cancel Lunar Electric music festival in Newcastle

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Due to the escalating COVID outbreak in Newcastle, this weekend’s Lunar Electric music festival has been cancelled under a Public Health Order.

It’s a major blow for the organisers, who were preparing to host a sell-out crowd of 12,000 revellers at Camp Shortland on Saturday 18 December.

More than 30 acts, including Timmy Trumpet, Will Sparks, Hooligan Hefs, HP Boys, Kerser, Tigerlilly and more, were scheduled to entertain the masses across two massive stages.

However, Newcastle state MP Tim Crakanthorp wrote to the Minister for Health, Brad Hazzard, on Thursday 16 December, calling on NSW Health to step in and stop the event from going ahead.

“As you can imagine, significant concern has been raised about this festival given the COVID-19 outbreak in Newcastle, the speed at which it’s moved, and the effect it has had on our community,” he said.

“While I understand that this event can proceed under the current rules, I am writing to request NSW Health undertake a full risk assessment of this event to ensure it is safe to proceed.”

It is believed NSW Health contacted the organisers of Lunar Electric this afternoon to advise them of its decision.

“We considered the ongoing spread of COVID-19 in the Newcastle area, where the majority of a record number of cases are the Omicron variant, presents too great a risk for the festival to take place this weekend,” a spokesperson said.

“NSW Health continues to be concerned about the ongoing spread of COVID-19 in the Newcastle area, where several venues and events have now seen extensive transmission.

“We again ask everyone across the community to continue to be particularly careful and practice COVID-safe behaviours.

“The emergence of the Omicron variant is a timely reminder of the importance of booster shots in maintaining a high level of protection against the COVID-19 virus.

“We urge people to get their booster dose as soon as they are eligible, to best protect yourself, your loved ones and the community from the ongoing transmission of COVID-19.

“We also strongly recommend that people aged 12 years and older, who are severely immunocompromised, to have a third primary dose of vaccine from two months after their second dose.

“Talk to your GP for more advice.”

Only 24 hours earlier, founder and managing director of Lunar Electric Simon Leigh expressed his excitement about returning to Newcastle after a two-year hiatus.

“It’s been such a huge effort for myself and co-director Shaun Dunn, but to be able to produce a festival of this magnitude in the current climate is absolutely amazing,” he said.

“It’s very rewarding to be presenting an event that makes so many people happy and brings that much needed joy and release from the trials of the past year or so.”

Lunar Electrical initially launched in Port Macquarie in 2018.

It’s fast becoming Australia’s premier dance music festival and, in 2022, the event is expanding its horizons to include Adelaide, Sydney and Melbourne with the tour kicking off on the Gold Coast on 26 March.

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