A Sydney pub will be rebranding as a church for a one-off “Sunday Service” to highlight the inequality in NSW’s Covid restrictions.
A popular inner-city Sydney pub will rebrand as a church for a one-day-only event, highlighting the inequality in NSW’s latest Covid-19 restrictions.
On January 23, The Lord Gladstone hotel will transform into The Gladsong and hold a “Sunday Service”, complete with $15 jugs of Holy Water (also known as Gladdy Lager), $10 Bloody Lords (Bloody Marys) and DJs playing in the courtyard all day.
The Facebook event page describes the Gladsong Hotel as Sydney’s “newest and most poppin’ religious institution”.
“Ready for you to come confess your sins and be bathed in its holiest of water (Gladdy Lager on tap),” the page states.
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Entry to the venue will be free and at midday a keg will be tapped that will see patrons pay what they want for a schooner, with all proceeds going towards Support Act, an organisation that delivers crisis relief and mental health services to those in the music industry.
“This event is to highlight the inequality being shown to live music venues across the country while religious organisations get to carry on under a different set of rules – all Covid restrictions will be followed currently in place on our venue,” the event page states.
“It will still be heaps of fun though and we can all drink schooners and laugh and be merry in the face of hypocrisy. The Gladsong loves a piss-take.”
The move is in response to new restrictions introduced by the NSW government that ban singing and dancing at nightclubs, pubs, bars, entertainment facilities and music festivals.
However, these restrictions do not apply to religious services.
This week, footage emerged from a youth summer camp being hosted by the Hillsong Church in Newcastle, showing huge crowds of shirtless, maskless revellers dancing and singing.
The footage has sparked outrage among those in the hospitality and music industries and prompted NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard to declare the event was “in breach” of public health orders.
In a statement sent to news.com.au, Mr Hazzard said: “NSW Health has requested Hillsong immediately stop singing and dancing at an event being held in the Newcastle area.
“While the Order does not apply to religious services, it does apply to major recreation facilities and this event is clearly in breach of both the spirit and intent of the Order, which is in place to help keep the community safe.”
Owner of The Gladstone Hotel, Mitchell Crum, told Purple Sneakers that it has been an incredibly frustrating time for all venue owners.
“Once again it feels like our leaders are leaving our poor struggling musicians and artists back in the darkness. Live music venues, musicians, pubs and clubs all across the state have been the hardest hit without any support or closure,” he said.
“I can’t say I’m terribly religious though I worship live music. Does that make us exempt?”
Speaking to Channel 10’s The Project on Thursday night, Mr Crum described the event as a party, not a protest, that aimed to highlight the “double standards of religious institutions against hospitality venues”.
“It’s definitely not a protest, we are throwing a bit of a party, it’s all going to be legal. We are going to be following all of the government restrictions and basically just voicing our frustration over not being able to host live music,” he told the program.
“The whole industry is feeling the same – all the live music venues, all the pubs, which are unable to do things that places like Hillsong can do right now.
“I saw a video an hour ago of 2000 people moshing to a fully functioning live music gig.”
Mr Crum said he was struggling with the continually changing restrictions.
“It is really fatiguing and crippling for my business at the moment,” he said.
The publican said anyone was welcome to join in on the The Gladsong Sunday Service next week, as long as they sign in and show proof of vaccination.
Hillsong has since spoken out and defended its youth “Summercamp 2022” event, telling the ABC that singing was “only a small part of each service”.
“Our camps involve primarily outdoor recreational activities including sports and games,” Hillsong said in a statement.
“We follow strict Covid procedures and adhere to government guidelines.”
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