Hillsong Church slammed for singing and dancing at Camp Hunter amid music festival cancellations

New South Wales Health has asked Hillsong Church to immediately stop singing and dancing at a Hunter youth camp.

The video shows hundreds of maskless participants, singing and dancing inside a large tent with performers on stage.

Changes to public health orders went into effect Tuesday, banning song and dancing at music festivals, forcing the cancellation of the Grapevine Gathering scheduled for Hunter Valley this weekend.

“Although the ordinance does not apply to religious services, it does apply to major recreational facilities and this event is clearly in violation of both the spirit and the intent of the ordinance,” said Health Minister Brad Hazzard said.

The three-day Hillsong ‘Summer Camp’ takes place at Glenrock Boy Scout Camp, south of Newcastle.

Newcastle MP Tim Crakanthorp said the holding of the event was “sheer arrogance”.

“It’s very, very disappointing after the cancellation of two local music festivals.

“This is exactly the behavior that health experts have deemed too risky at the moment, but the organizers of this event seem to think it is entirely acceptable for them to do so.

Parts of the camp take place inside a tent at Glenrock Scout Camp.(Facebook)

Hillsong insists event is by rules

Hillsong defended the holding of the event and said it “in no way resembled a music festival.”

“Our camps primarily involve outdoor recreational activities including sports and games,” he said in a statement.

“We follow strict COVID procedures and adhere to government guidelines. “

Regarding a social media video showing participants singing and dancing, Hillsong said that “outdoor Christian services take place during the camp, but these are only a small part of the program, and any chanting does not take place. is only a small part of every service “.

Hillsong said it follows “strict COVID procedures, including the provision of rapid antigen testing, the use of face masks, deep cleaning and disinfection.”

People with their hands up at a music festival
Hillsong highlighted the COVID protocols in place for the event.(Facebook)

The music industry reacts

Pop singer Montaigne shared a video from the camp, commenting that the “double standard” shown by the Australian government around live entertainment events was “absolutely wild” and “took her breath away”.

Julia Robinson, chief executive of the Australian Festival Association, called public health orders dealing with music festivals “inconsistent”.

“[We’re] as in other sectors and other contexts singing and dancing may in fact be permitted, but the health risk may be considered similar to a music festival.

A crowd at a music festival.
Grapevine festival organizers called the cancellation a “devastating blow.”(Provided: Gathering of the vine)

More events planned

According to the Hillsong website, the summer camps are designed to equip children “with the tools of life and to encounter the presence of God in a powerful way that will anchor our families more deeply in Jesus while having fun.” .

Similar events will take place in Queensland, Victoria, Tasmania and Western Australia later this month.

A ticket for the four-day event at Glenrock Scout Camp costs $ 314.

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Gerald R. Schneider