Vaccination passport | No relaxation for festivals

Despite the wishes of the festival organizers, the introduction of a vaccine passport will not allow major events to ease health measures at their sites in the fall. This announcement by the government on Tuesday was met with disappointment and resignation, while we anticipate congestion at the entrance, additional costs and a drop in passengers.

Marisa Grogue

Marisa Grogue

“We are disappointed,” Laurent Saulnier, vice president of programming for Francos and Jazz Festival, loosely on the phone, joined in. Journalism Immediately after Tuesday afternoon’s press conference chaired by Minister of Health and Social Services Christian Dube.

“We would have liked to be able to welcome more people to the festivals,” he says. I think this would have given some fairness: People should be vaccinated doubly so there is less risk of spreading, so we were hoping for some relief. ”

Photo of Hugo Sebastian Hubert, press archives

Laurent Saulnier, Vice President of Programming at Francos and the Montreal International Jazz Festival

However, the Grand President of the Montreal Events defends the position of L’Equipe Spectra, the organizer of Francos and Jazz: “We trust the specialists, no one here is an epidemiologist and we are among those who believe that science should be right in many cases.”

The National Director of Public Health, Drs On Tuesday, Horacio Arruda said at a press conference that there would be “no rest” in the places concerned with the passport. We follow the same applicable protocols. It is not because there is a vaccination passport that we are going to change the protocols in place.”

Fear of going back to school

However, the permissibility of vaccination completely changed the way festivals should be organized. If the organizers saw its implementation as positive, it was hoped that measures such as the loading of 15,000 people per site or the demarcation of district boundaries (maximum 500 people per district) would be eased.

While we officially know that won’t be the case, Martin Roy, President and CEO of Regroupement des évents internationales (RÉMI), which in particular represents the Osheaga Festival, Francos and Juste pour rire, has already had time to add the resignation to the disappointment. “Press conference [de mardi] It is the culmination of two weeks of working with [le ministère de] culture and [celui du] Tourism,” said Mr. Roy, who saw the wall approaching facilitation issues.


Martin Roy, CEO of RÉMI

Why didn’t public health and the government respond to the festivals’ requests? As Minister Dube said on Tuesday, authorities fear returning to school and the increase in the number of cases it could lead to. It was thought that this summer’s respite would extend into the fall, but now it’s clear that won’t be the case. “They want to see the effects that the start of the school year will have before they do anything,” Martin Roy said. We were told they would review the restrictions in mid-October. But now, the festivals will end…”

In the Ministry of Culture and Communications, we refer to Journalism That “in accordance with public health recommendations, overloading is not currently possible.” We were simply told: “Our government will continue to support the cultural community through programs developed as part of our cultural recovery plan.”

shortage of time

“We understand that managing all of this is complicated, but we were hoping to have some flexibility, especially given what is happening in other counties and the United States,” said Nick Farkas, Vice President of Concert Programs and Evenco Events. (Oshiga, Sonic). But like everyone else, our number one priority remains that everything is safe. ”

Photo: Allen Roberge, press

Nick Farkas, Senior Vice President of Party & Event Programming

So Evenco will follow instructions while promoting the experience of festival-goers and artists, all of whom are from Quebec and Canada this year. Four weeks before the launch of îleSoniq, there is still a lot to do, admits Nick Farkas, who trusts his “very busy” team.

Fall festival organizers, along with the rest of the population, were briefed on Tuesday about how the vaccine passport works. The deadlines for applying the instructions are tight. We raised three issues on August 10 [lors de l’annonce de l’instauration du passeport]One of them was very tight deadlines, says Martin Roy. They still are, but we welcome another two weeks. Indeed, Minister Dube made clear on Tuesday that there would be no sanctions until September 15th if the new measure was not implemented optimally.

The second issue that was raised concerns flexibility and the third, festival-goers coming from outside Quebec. If they can get a Quebec app to show their vaccination guide, it is still estimated at RÉMI that a large number of manual checks for foreign visitors will have to be carried out, which will inevitably reduce efficiency at the entrances to events.

Less sales, more workforce

At Festival western de Saint-Tite we also wonder how to manage festival-goers and competitors from the United States and the rest of Canada, usually quite a few. Because it will be necessary to request a vaccination passport, an identity document and a ticket at the entrance, “we expect there will be a wait for festival-goers,” worries Melanie Comtoua, marketing coordinator and show team. I also found that tickets sell for less, and cancellations are more frequent. “The situation could discourage some festival-goers,” notes Laurent Saulnier. In recent weeks, the announcement of the passport has slowed sales and we have received compensation requests. It will have an effect. ”

The measures will force festivals to hire more workers, including staff who will have to take care of digitizing vaccine passports. “It takes people to run all of this,” Mr. Saulnier comments. Will festival-goers have to cross two barriers? Will the process take longer? There are a lot of cases where we don’t know how to proceed. We haven’t gotten there yet. ”

However, the franc, scheduled for September 9-12, is fast approaching. It’s a race against time for promoters, but “it’s been a year and a half in which we’ve made plans, undo them, throw them in the trash, and reinvent them,” says Laurent Saulnier, who prefers to put things into perspective. It’s our daily life!

Laurent Saulnier is of the opinion that it will be necessary to take on a “real communication challenge” so that people know they should have a vaccine guide ready at the start of events.

As the fall season approaches, organizers remain positive. “We are fortunate to be able to draw on our talent from Quebec and Canada,” says Nick Farkas, while Osheaga will reveal their full lineup soon. I just can’t wait to deliver the events! ”

The Gatineau Hot Air Balloon Festival couldn’t talk to him Journalism About it, precisely because those responsible are in a regulatory attack, a few days before launch, on September 2.

Laurent Saulnier, now accustomed to “blind sailing”, dares only hope. “All we can do is put our fingers and toes on and hope that everything will go well!” ”

Consult the Francos program revealed on Tuesday

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