UPDATE: ‘I think it’s dangerous:’ Sen. Baldwin reacts to Wisconsin music festival

WEDNESDAY 7/1/2020 11:39 a.m.

RINGLE, Wis. (WFRV) – Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) spoke out against large gatherings, such as the ‘COVID Herd Immunity Fest’, during an interview on The View.

When asked what her thoughts were on the 3-day mini-fest WFRV Local 5 reported on in June, Sen. Baldwin said.

“I have to say, it came as news to me quite recently and apparently came as news to the Public Health Department of Marathon County where this venue is,” Sen. Baldwin says. When WFRV Local 5 reached out to the Marathon County Health Department for a comment on the music festival, officials said they were “not aware of this festival.”

Sen. Baldwin went on to discuss the risk of large gatherings amid the coronavirus pandemic. A representative from The Q & Z Expo Center informed WFRV Local 5 that attendance would be limited to about 2,500 people – about 20 percent of what the venue can accommodate to ensure “anyone has the choice to social distance.”

“I think that the risk of people coming from all over, especially places where we’re seeing spikes in the coronavirus infection, even though it’s an outdoor venue. I think it’s dangerous and wish that everybody would pay attention to the public health advice and scientific expertise that we have available to us today, we should not be having large gatherings of thousands of people.”

Sen. Baldwin went on to discuss how the Democratic National Convention, which will be held in Milwaukee, will be almost entirely virtual this year. She highlighted “the enormous contrast in leadership versus the failure of leadership” between the DNC being mostly virtual while President Donald Trump continues to hold rallies, like his recent visit to Tulsa, Oklahoma.

The Q & Z Expo Center has not responded to WFRV Local 5’s request for comment. According to the venue’s Facebook page, the event is still going on as scheduled from July 16-19.

Ringle is a small town comprised of less than 2,000 people in Marathon County, just over an hour’s drive west of Green Bay. As of July 1, nearly 170 positive cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in Marathon County, up from just over 120 on June 23.

Original Story: ‘COVID Herd Immunity Fest’ changes name, Wisconsin music festival still on

WEDNESDAY 6/24/2020 1:30 p.m.

RINGLE, Wis. (WFRV) – A 3-day mini-fest, originally promoted as the “COVID Herd Immunity Fest,” is set to take place in North Central Wisconsin in July; it is likely the first music festival to be held in Wisconsin since the start of the coronavirus outbreak.

Organizers spoke briefly with WFRV Local 5, saying that attendance to the mini-fest will be limited to 2,500 people – about 20 percent of what the venue can accommodate to ensure “anyone has the choice to social distance.”

Organizers did not respond to follow-up questions.

A Facebook post from The Q & Z Expo Center in Ringle described the event as mini-fest featuring 15 bands between July 16-18:

“As humans we NEED other human contact. MUSIC in itself is great, but the live streams as I am sure you all know is just not the same we need LIVE, feel it to the bones, run shivers up your spine MUSIC with people around us…Let’s make it a fun, safe weekend, and let’s be kind to each other. Spread the word by sharing the event and invite your friends.”

However, that post was deleted minutes after exhanging messages with WFRV Local 5 and a new post was published.

According to The Q & Z Expo Center, “The Festival is also not called ‘Herd Immunity’ and the name no longer tied to any of our social media or promotion.”

A Facebook page for one of the bands scheduled to perform, Bobaflex, shared a post in mid-June from The Q & Z Expo Center, promoting the band’s “Special Reunion Show” at the “COVID Herd Immunity Fest”.

Another band that had been scheduled for the event, Nonpoint, tweeted that they “dropped off” from the event “because of the way the festival is named.”

WFRV Local 5 spoke with the Marathon County Health Department, who said they were not aware of the mini-fest. Judy Burrows of the Health Department says:

“The health department discourages individuals from attending mass gatherings because of the risk of spreading COVID-19. If people choose to attend any large public event we encourage them to wear cloth face masks, wash hands, or use hand sanitizer and practice social distancing. The health department does not have the authority to prohibit community events.”

WFRV has reached out to other state and local officials for more information on the event, but requests for comment were not immediately answered.

Ringle is a small town comprised of less than 2,000 people in Marathon County, just over an hour’s drive west of Green Bay. As of June 23, just over 120 positive cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in Marathon County.

In late May, Rhinelander’s annual Hodag Country Festival was given the go-ahead to be held this summer despite numerous other events being canceled. Days after receiving approval, organizers of the festival decided to postpone the event to 2021, citing the importance of keeping the community safe.

Meanwhile, other summer events in Wisconsin like the State Fair and Summerfest have been canceled due to concerns regarding the coronavirus.

Copyright 2022 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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