Aussie Country Music Artists On The COVID-19 Vaccination – Part 4

It’s been just over one month since the launch of #vaxthenation, which saw more than 400 of Australia’s biggest artists and performers join forces with leading tour promoters, music festivals, venues, ticketing agencies, record labels, comedy producers, theatre, opera and dance companies, media outlets, industry associations, peak bodies and global brands like YouTube and TikTok in a new campaign asking Australians to help ‘stop the interruptions’ and get vaccinated.

In response, Ben Mitchell released a song called Free The Nation and started a campaign of his own. Free The Nation Music has since seen over 170 vaccinated and unvaccinated musicians stand up for freedom against discrimination, segregation and fear, and promoting choice, respect and love for all.

However, the one thing we can all agree on is that the COVID-19 vaccine has left us divided.

So, we wanted to go to the source itself, and find out just what the country music community thinks about this topical subject. While it would be impossible to gauge every single opinion, we have carefully curated our twelve country artists to represent a range of different ages, genders, locations, family dynamics, life experiences as well as places they are at in their respected careers.

While not requested by the artists themselves, to allow a safe and open space to share their opinions freely without consequence, we have assigned each artist a random number and omitted key details to keep their anonymity.

In this twelve-part daily series, we asked our artists a range of taboo, topical and controversial questions to find out what the Australian country music community thinks of COVID-19.


For other artists in the series, go here >

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

Are you currently vaccinated or unvaccinated, and why did you make that decision?

Artist 4: I’m fully vaccinated, because I have [an underlying health condition] I was able to get the vaccination early. I want to protect my family … my grandpa, so he’s around longer … my parents … myself. It goes beyond you. You’ve got to look at the bigger picture: who are you going to help protect in the end? When I was eligible, I went, “let’s do it!” I don’t want to be in lockdown any more. And, if I could participate in a way to not be in lockdown, I’m gonna do it because lockdown sucks. If we can get back to gigging, making a living and doing what we love, I’ll do whatever it takes.

Do you think artists/performers should use their platform to encourage others to get vaccinated?

Artist 4: It’s a ying yang situation, you’ve got to factor in what you can lose from it. If you have a high profile and you’ve made your mark in the industry, I feel like you should be talking about people getting vaccinated. I feel like you have the leverage to use your platform to voice your opinion and to encourage people to do the right thing and just get vaccinated so we can all get out and do stuff. Whereas you’ve got underdogs like me where every subscriber is very important and means a lot, so if I did something like that who knows what people would think or do. Mind you, I did do a post for #vaxthenation, but I’m not enforcing what I believe, and I haven’t told people to go and get vaccinated, because I don’t feel like it’s my place to tell people what they should do.

What is your opinion on vaccinated only events? For example, Big Red Bash and Broken Hill Mundi Mundi Bash’s new ‘no jab, no jive’ policy, requiring ticket holders, artists, crew, volunteers and vendors over the age of 16 to be fully vaccinated to attend the events in 2022.

Artist 4: I’m for it. It’s what they’re doing around the world. But, at the start, to get the music industry back on track, if you’re a fan of music or you’re an artist who wants to have gig opportunities, I’d rather be at a fully-vaxxed festival than nothing at all. It’s a progression thing. I am for vax only events because at least it’s peace of mind. Later I think we can be mixed, once we are more vaccinated, that’s when we can start bringing in the rapid tests and a negative result.

Would you mandate your own personal gigs be vaccinated only?

Artist 4: At the start, I’d probably want vax only, just until we get back into the swing of things and the normality becomes normal. But then I’m not opposed to be around people who aren’t vaccinated. It’s a toughie because it’s hypothetically speaking.

Do you think those who choose not to be vaccinated should have the same freedoms as those who do and why?

Artist 4: It sucks that I rushed to get vaccinated, and I haven’t been able to do anything as of yet. So, at the start, if you fully vaccinated, you should be able to see that little bit extra. Then, later, you bring in the rapid testing as people can’t be isolated for the rest of their lives.

Are you concerned that speaking out about the COVID-19 vaccine will impact your career in a negative way?

Artist 4: It’s like that with everything. It’s a gamble, you make a pro and con list, and go, “What am I going to lose If I do speak out?” If the losing thing is too great, then it’s not worth speaking out. But if the gain is greater than the loss, then, I’m not going to lose. I think it’s a conversation that needs to happen, it just depends on where you are in your career and whether it’s worth doing it. I have spoken out, but I have been careful in how I word things because I don’t want to open Pandora’s box … I just want to crack it open a little bit.

What are your opinions on people who don’t share your same beliefs on the COVID-19 vaccine?

Artist 4: I think bottom line is, get vaccinated and you’re able to go do stuff. Most people I’ve had conversations with, it’s like, “You get the flu jab every year, you got the chickenpox one, meningococcal, you got all these other vaccinations, why is this one different?” You start to have that conversation with them, and they can’t give you a proper answer. If I try to have that conversation, and it’s just not working, I ignore them.

To those you have voiced your opinions to (whether it be to fans, friends, or family), what kind of reception have you received?

Artist 4: All of it was actually really good. No negative backlash or comments at all. It makes you go, “People want live music back, they want to be able to go out and see band or an artist they really like, they want to be able to go out and do things like what we did back in 2019.” I did see some people did get some negative responses, so I am very lucky that I only got positive. But I also think it comes down to what you actually say and what you’re writing. I guess, where you get those negative comments, that people feel like they’re being told what to do.

Do you think your location has any influence on your decision to get vaccinated/be unvaccinated? For example, someone in a major city who have been largely affected by lockdowns might have more urgency to get vaccinated than those in regional areas/other states?

Artist 4: 100%. We’re on the border of what’s considered regional, we’re far enough out, but there are COVID cases [nearby] so that was also another reason that had a bit of urgency. We’re not doing too great here. We can’t keep living like this. We’re planning on moving to [another state] next year. We’ve always wanted to do it, but all these lockdowns, it’s given us the push to actually go.

How has COVID-19 impacted you and your career?

Artist 4: It’s impacted it a lot. I’ve had so many gig cancellations, and singles that came out that I couldn’t perform them live. I couldn’t catch up with each other musicians, see live performances and network … it’s put a pause on everything.

For other artists in the series, go here >

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