- 24 Jun 20
The Ringle medical goes against the advice of virtually all health experts.
The world's first so called 'Herd Immunity Fest' is billed to go ahead next month, defying the advice from leading health experts who have come out strongly against large gatherings of this kind. There is a real threat, still unfortunately very real, that an event of this kind might well be the perfect breeding ground for the spread of the deadly virus, especially in a country where infection rates are still growing.
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced the global cancellation of concerts, gigs and festivals and has widely impacted the music industry, with a huge loss of income to musicians – and to other professionals in the music business. However, the three-day 'Herd Immunity' festival – a heavy metal blow-out of sorts – is apparently set to plough ahead in Wisconsin. The organisers seem to be blind to hte fact that consequences seem to be potentially very serious indeed.
The 'mini-fest' will occur on an outdoor stage at the Q&Z Expo Center, but there appear to be no social distancing measures being enacted for health and safety.
If it goes ahead, it will officially be the first rock festival featuring what some might consider 'major' acts to take place since the coronavirus pandemic started. However, none of the acts are operating at a level where they would get near the top of the bill at an Irish festival.
Also on the bill are Blacktop Mojo, Flaw, Kaleido, Saul, Versus Me, AC/DC tribute Thunderstruck and Metallica tribute One.
“When the lock down first happened my first thought was OK we can all do 2 weeks, then it went on and on, things were getting cancelled, I started to worry about people not only for this Covid but mental, physical, financial," a post on the event's Facebook page reads.
That there is a piece of commercial opportunism involved seems self-evident. But that the proposed festival is happening as the US gears up for an election – in which Donald Trump is fighting for his political life, and in denial about the reality of Covid-19 deaths across America – must also be factored into an understanding of what is happening.
“As humans we NEED other human contact," the 'manifesto' runs. "MUSIC in itself is great, but the live streams as I am sure you all know is just not the same we need LIVE, feel it to the bones, run shivers up your spine MUSIC with people around us. Takes us all away on a trip that unless you have felt it you won’t understand.”
One way of understanding what is happening is that the announcement of the festival is a way of co-opting music to the cause of those who want to put personal and political agendas ahead of public health and safety. There is little doubt that the risks of the virus being spread are higher at mass public gatherings, where social distancing is impossible.
There are also serious questions to be asked about the name chosen by the promoters, given that there is no guarantee whatsoever that 'herd immunity' can or will be achieved by any community. The assumption that 'herd immunity' could be achieved led to major policy failures, which led to the UK – under Boris Johnson's misguided management – becoming the worst-hit country in the world for coronavirus-related deaths.
Medical experts have warned that festivals may not return until autumn 2021, which makes the 'Herd Immunity' festival appear even more concerning.