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Laneway Festival Cancels Auckland Leg Over COVID-19

Citing health concerns and border closures, the New Zealand leg of Laneway Festival is set to take a year off in 2021.

Image of King Gizzard & the Lizard

King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard performing at the 2020 edition of Laneway Festival

Ashley Mar*

The Auckland leg of the annual Laneway Festival has cancelled its 2021 event, with organisers confirming the news yesterday.

The news was announced via social media, with organisers explaining that given the current state of affairs due to the COVID-19 pandemic, associated health risks, and border closures, it would be in the interest of public safety to take the year off.

“We’ve had the honour of spending the last 11 summers together with you and cherished every delightful second of sharing many of our favourite artists with you,” organisers wrote.

“Our collective memories of us all coming together every Auckland Anniversary Day to celebrate the power of live music are incredibly important to us, and so, after much deliberation, we are very disappointed to announce that Laneway Festival Auckland will not be taking place this Summer 2021.

“The current circumstances w/ border closures + unpredictability of future Covid-19 outbreaks have created a tough environment for festivals. We take pride in delivering a premium event but in these conditions we do not believe we can operate to our full capabilities.”

Despite this, organisers note that they’re already planning to return in early 2022. Likewise, the messages were signed off by advising fans to keep an eye on the Australian leg of Laneway’s coming events, indicating that plans for the local edition of the touring festival are still underway.

“We have decided that it would be best to take a year off so that we’re in a strong position to come back bigger and better than ever,” organisers wrote. “Sending our love and support to all our loyal crew and suppliers who we hope to see again, along with you[!], in Summer 202.”

First held in 2010, the Auckland leg of Laneway served as the festival’s only international edition until it expanded to Singapore the following year, and then onto Detroit in 2013.

This isn’t the first festival cancellation that COVID-19 has brought music fans in recent weeks, with the news of Falls Festival also cancelling its forthcoming event despite its plans to hold an “all-Australian” lineup.

At this stage, it remains to be seen whether the Australian edition of Laneway Festival will announce its 2021 lineup as usual, with its first announce generally taking place in the final half of September.