Many artists were gearing up to take stage as news of Delta's arrival in New Zealand broke. The Delta strain of Covid raises concerns about what an already fragile industry is going to look like, under what's likely to be a prolonged Alert Level Two scenario.
The impact of last year's initial Covid-19 outbreak saw crowdfunding and millions in bail-outs and wage subsidies, but some in the industry are questioning how long that can last, and what this new outbreak means for the wider cultural framework of New Zealand.
Under the current alert level framework, level two allows for live performances, events and even theatre, but with restrictions on crowd numbers and movement, as well as tight regulations for service at venues. These restrictions reduce venue capacity, and narrow already tight margins with businesses needing extra staff to serve customers.
Jaz Kapow of Twice the Hype booking agency says that level two "basically decimates our entire industry, and it's not realistic", adding the "unknown of this thing is pretty terrifying".
She proposes an "industry standard" of accountability, hoping that industry can manage shows of all sizes within alert level restrictions. Kapow urging the industry to tighten up procedures surrounding events, saying "if you don't make things Covid-safe you're not gonna have a show anyway"
Artists, venues, and tech crews breathed a sigh of relief as they survived the last Summer season, and sought the silver lining, with many up-and-coming artists able to fill the "major" gap left by international artists. As many bands, venues and festivals cancel or reschedule their dates, Kapow's only hope is simple - "we get one more good season, because we need it."