Last Saturday, on August 21, tens of thousands of people protested in six Dutch cities against the governmental measures for the event sector. More than 1.000 organizations signed up to join the Unmute Us! movement, demanding full-capacity events to return as of September 1.
The initiative originated from dance event organizers such as Q-dance, Thunderdome, Art of Dance and B2S but rapidly spread across the entire Dutch event industry with artists, venues, labels, and other companies joining the movement. ‘Enough is enough’ was the motto of the protest march that should make the Dutch government around Mark Rutte and Hugo de Jonge aware of the tremendous effects their measures have on the entire sector. It’s not even about missing the parties, but about the thousands of people who lost their jobs, the freelancers that are without assignments, the photographers and videographers who live off of capturing parties, the booking agencies, the labels, the stage builders, the venues, the event agencies and promoters, the artists, managers and every single person working in the music and event industry. Everyone got affected by the pandemic one way or another, and many are still struggling.
The current measures in the Netherlands only allow outdoor events with a maximum capacity of 750 people to happen, which is simply not feasible. While large-scale sports events such as soccer games or the Formula 1 race in Zandvoort can take place with hardly any restrictions – the latter even with a campsite – the festival and event sector seems to be forgotten. The Unmute Us! movement demands events to return at full capacity on September 1, as the Fieldlab test events showed that partying safely is possible.
Many countries abroad already returned to normal when it comes to events. Serbia’s Exit festival, for example, had 180.000 visitors and 0 COVID cases. Lollapalooza in the US had 385.000 visitors, and only 0.05% got infected. In Belgium, events up to 75.000 people are allowed again, based on the results of the Dutch Fieldlab studies.
I’m sure that our voice has been heard – now it’s up to the Dutch government to act upon it. Do you think the protest will have an impact? Let us know in the comments!