Hundreds of industry actors, promoters and performers have held marches across the country in six cities over the past weekend, to protest against the restrictions that have forced dozens of festivals and events cancellations this summer.
The “Unmute Us” marches in Amsterdam gathered a multigenerational crowd of thousands of party-lovers dancing around trucks and sound systems, carrying slogans like “Don’t Cancel Culture,” or “Fight for your right to party.”
“We were really blown away by the massive turnout, and the positive vibes that everybody brought to the streets. Very proud to show the rest of the Netherlands: this is what we do best. This is our job, what we live for: organizing large-scale events. I think we have shown both the professionalism of our scene, and the scale of our audience. It’s about time our policymakers show us some respect, and stop muting the voice of more than 100,000 workers and our 1mio+ audience,” told us Bram Merkx, Global Marketing Director at DGTL, and one of the initiators of the protest.
Because of the spread of the delta variant, festivals and large events are banned until the 31st of October. The organizers of the March demand the ban to be lifted on 1st September, as crowds are already allowed to congregate in massive numbers in football stadium with proof of vaccination, with no effect on infection rates.
In late June, Dutch clubs and festivals had reopened, but an increase in cases prompted the government to enforce new restrictions. Only one-day events are currently permitted in the country with a maximum of 750 visitors either vaccinated, tested or recovered from the virus.
“It is ridiculous that – even after Saturday’s noise and turnout – we still haven’t heard anything from our government. Almost feels like they are deliberately ignoring our part of society. In an open letter to prime minister Mark Rutte, we demanded answers to our questions before the end of this week. If they keep muting our scene, we will be forced to announce further action. As you have noticed, we are able to mobilize large-scale protests, which remain positive and peaceful. But I sincerely hope they don’t confuse our peaceableness with complacency. Our patience has run out. Unmute us!” concludes Merkx.
Photo courtesy of Unmute Us, by Daan Koenderink.
Published August 26, 2021.