We have made the inevitable but nonetheless disappointing decision to postpone the Football Writers' Festival set for 30-31 May at Jamberoo, NSW.
In light of current public health advice regarding the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19), and non-essential public gatherings, we believe it is inadvisable to proceed with the Festival at Jamberoo Pub on the scheduled date.
While the Football Writers' Festival would obviously not have more than 500 people - which is the current limit for 'safe' crowds set by the Government - the Festival is nonetheless an event with a duration over 1.5 days, where attendees are in close proximity to one another in a potentially crowded room, with relatively limited ventilation and bathroom facilities for the number of people. As event organisers, we also are required to have adequate plans in place in case someone was to become seriously ill which is an unhelpful burden on regional medical facilities.
Further, our international speakers would be required to spend 14 days in quarantine on arrival which would not be feasible for any of them.
This is an unprecedented and challenging time for everyone, but the health and safety of authors, audiences, writers, staff, volunteers and the local Jamberoo and football community must come first.
We recognise this is disappointing for writers whose work was to be featured for the first time in this year's program which had the theme of Power. Passion. Purpose.
We urge you to support these authors and your booksellers (or our Fair Play Publishing store) in what will be a challenging year for everyone in our community.
We are currently looking at the feasibility and options for holding the Festival on 25-27 September 2020, but this will depend on many moving parts including the availability of venues, writers, authors and special guests - and, most importantly, the trajectory of COVID-19 over the coming weeks and months. We will make a final decision on this by Easter 2020.
Those who have purchased tickets for the 30-31 May Football Writers’ Festival will be contacted and offered the option for reimbursement or to hold their purchase for the next Festival (whether this year or next year).
We are very grateful for your interest in the Football Writers' Festival.
We wish you and your families, friends and colleagues well during this time and look forward to seeing you again soon.
Matthew Hall and Jens Weinreich at the 2019 Football Writers' Festival at the Jamberoo Pub