Hillsong Church avoids fine, apologizes for youth camp ‘festival’ as NSW premier intervenes

Hillsong Church has apologized after allowing hundreds to sing and dance at a youth camp, after New South Wales Premier Dominic Perrottet said he was “completely shocked “by the video of the event.

Health officials yesterday demanded that singing and dancing stop immediately at the event, as NSW police intervened to “ensure future compliance” with COVID-19 restrictions.

The video showed hundreds of participants without masks, singing and dancing inside a large tent with performers on stage.

“We regret that we have given the impression that we are not doing our part to keep NSW safe and we sincerely apologize to the community at large,” Hillsong said in a statement Friday afternoon.

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Hillsong Summer Camp

But he maintained that the youth camp was not a music festival.

“These are events for high school students that include sports activities and games,” the statement said.

“These are non-alcoholic events, held outdoors, and the number of students attending each camp is just over 200.”

NSW Police have confirmed Hillsong will not be fined for the event.

“After discussions with the organizers and after consultation with NSW Health, no infractions will be pronounced,” Acting Deputy Commissioner Peter Glynn said.

Earlier, Perrottet said he understood the “anger people across the state have felt.”

A group stand around a lagoon and watch someone hold a fishing rod.
Hillsong took to social media to show off other aspects of Glenrock camp.(Instagram: Hillsong)

Mr Perrottet said he “expected” a fine to be imposed.

“I will take the advice of the legal teams at NSW Health and if they are in breach, which is the information I have received from the Minister of Health, a fine should be imposed.”

The maximum penalty for a business that violates public health orders is $ 55,000.

“Not like a music festival in any way”

Recent changes to public health orders banned song and dance at music festivals, venues, nightclubs, entertainment facilities and major recreation facilities.

Although the ordinance does not apply to religious services, NSW Health considered the event to be a major recreation facility and therefore subject to the ban on singing and dancing.

A big white tent with people underneath
Newcastle MP Tim Crakanthorp called the organization of the event “sheer arrogance”.(Facebook: Tim Crakanthorp)

Charlestown MP Jodie Harrison said she was “very disturbed” by the footage and urged Hillsong to “comply with the laws” if she were to be allowed into the area.

Outrage in the music industry grows

A chorus of personalities from the music industry took to social media to express their outrage against the camp.

“While all other music festivals are heading to the bathroom like last year, Hillsong is no mask, singing and dancing like we have all been told not to,” the singer said. country Troy Cassar-Daley.

Perrottet said he understood the music industry would be “outraged” at the Hillsong event.

“I very much appreciate the sacrifices made by the festival organizers,” he said.

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