Festival group sues government over new Covid measures
Festival organizer ID&T filed summary proceedings against the government for tightening coronavirus measures, two weeks after nearly completely reopening the country. The company called the new restrictions inappropriate and said it is dumbfounded.
On Friday evening, Prime Minister Mark Rutte and Health Minister Hugo de Jonge announced that multi-day events would not go through and that nightclubs had to close their doors again. Events are only allowed to last a maximum of 24 hours and people are required to have a fixed seat. If the event organizer requires proof of full vaccination or a negative coronavirus test from Testen voor Toegang upon entry then they do not have to enforce social distancing measures, but fixed seating remains obligatory.
ID&T is known for events such as Mysteryland, Defqon.1, Sensation en Vunizige Deuntjes. The organizations said it was possible for festivals to go ahead under the previous rules enacted by the government on June 26. A study from Fieldlab in April claimed that events could be held as long as there were certain restrictions in place.
“There is great bewilderment and disappointment”, ID&T director, Ritty van Straalen, told NOS. “We are stunned. Now that festivals are no longer allowed, young people are going to go crazy again. They’ll meet up in unsafe locations such as parks or beaches.”
Van Straalen was also annoyed that the government opened up everything a few weeks ago “without asking the sector for advice and while it was not regulated well. Testen voor Toegang was still not working correctly. And now everything is reversed. A big, fat line is drawn through the entire summer.”
It is possible that restrictions will be lifted after August 13. Yet, there is doubt that large festivals can be organized immediately, according to Van Straalen.
“They think we just set up a stage and arrange for artists to come, but we’re building entire cities.” Van Straalen said the creative sector is “on the brink of collapse,” adding that “The consequences of the measures are not thought of. It is totally arbitrary.”