Arts organisations around the country have been hit hard by the worsening COVID-19 situation in NSW and Victoria, with a huge range of cancellations announced in the past few days including the Australian Festival of Chamber Music and the entire winter season of Opera Australia.

One of the cruelest cuts was the cancellation of the 30th edition of the Australian Festival of Chamber Music, which had already been postponed from 2020. The festival, scheduled to run in Townsville from July 23 to August 1, was to be the final festival directed by outgoing Artistic Director, Kathryn Stott. When Sydney went into lockdown, several AFCM concert line-ups were changed with some musicians from Melbourne replacing the Sydney musicians who were unable to attend. Then the virus travelled to Melbourne, leading to a Victorian lockdown.

Kathryn Stott and the Goldner String Quartet

Festival chair Sandra Yates said the decision to cancel was not made lightly, but that there was no other option.

“Lockdowns in the Greater...