Covid: Stereophonics' Cardiff gigs postponed as Omicron spreads

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The sold out shows at the Principality Stadium would have seen Sir Tom Jones support the Stereophonics

Two Stereophonics gigs planned for December have been postponed amid growing concerns about the new Omicron variant of Covid.

It comes as four more cases of the variant are confirmed in Wales, bringing the total to nine.

The band were due to perform with Sir Tom Jones at Cardiff's Principality Stadium on 17 and 18 December.

The stadium's promoters said an indoor event was "impossible to run safely" as the threat of new variants emerge.

Of the four new Omicron cases found in Wales, one has been recorded in the Aneurin Bevan health board area, and three in the Cardiff & Vale health board area.

"As we have said previously, an increase in cases of Omicron variant in Wales is to be expected," said Dr Meng Khaw, of Public Health Wales.

'A waste of time'

Image source, Ryan Redmond
Image caption,
Ryan Redmond says he could lose as much as £600 due to the cancellation

Ticket holder Ryan Redmond, who planned to travel to Cardiff from Cumbria for five nights, said he could face losing up to £600 due to the cancelled gigs.

"That's £500 to £600 I'm losing if I don't come, and if I do come, well obviously the concert is off so there is less to do. The whole trip is basically a waste of time," he said.

"I'm quite frustrated because they've been quite lenient with the rules. I can understand the vaccine passports. I can understand the earlier lockdowns but things have been going quite well."

"Minty", from Minty's Gig Guide to Cardiff, said it would have an impact on the south Wales economy.

Image caption,
Podcaster "Minty" said safety must come first, despite the effects on the local economy

He said: "Lots of business, independent local business, would have thrived off the back of these two shows. But audience health is most paramount and so the decision that has been taken is an understandable one.

"There is still a glut of live music you can enjoy right across Wales up until the end of 2021 into 2022.

"But obviously, at a level that the stadium show is at, there seems to have been cause for concern from the promoters in adherence with Welsh government guidelines, which has resulted in this."

Camilla Clarke, from Cardiff, who had tickets for the Saturday night gig, added: "I was pretty disappointed when I heard, but not much you can do."

What happened last year?

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
The sold out shows at the Principality Stadium would have seen Sir Tom Jones support the Stereophonics

The Libertines have also cancelled their gig in the Welsh capital on 9 December, which was due to take place at Cardiff University's Students' Union.

The Cynon Valley band were criticised for playing the two gigs on the same weekend a Welsh rugby match was postponed due to concerns over the emerging virus.

After the gig, the band's sound engineer said it "wasn't our call" for the band to call off their own gig, as it was a decision for the authorities.

At the time, the Welsh government said the "clear public health advice was that cancelling mass gatherings was not required".

However, just days later all mass gatherings were banned as Wales entered its first Covid lockdown.

The Welsh government's latest advice for concert halls came in on 15 November and highlighted "reasonable measures" venues should take.

These measures include use of face coverings, requiring proof of Covid passes, preventing crowding and keeping the premises clean.

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The Principality Stadium said it had been working with promoters Kilimanjaro Live to deliver the Stereophonics' shows and had sought clarification from the Welsh government following its latest guidance.

They said in a statement, although they were "regretful" about rescheduling the shows, they had taken the "proactive" decision in order to comply with Welsh law and guidance.

"Unfortunately, as the threat of new variants emerge and the restrictions in place as an 'indoor venue', the shows are impossible to run safely and ensure compliance with government guidelines and Welsh law," a joint statement said.

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Stereophonics frontman Kelly Jones had said previously he wanted to do "something we can celebrate"

Despite rescheduling the gigs to 17 and 18 June, fans have been reassured all tickets for the original shows will remain valid.

Stereophonics, Sir Tom Jones and Catfish and The Bottlemen will all still be performing at the June 2022 shows.

The Stereophonics said they were disappointed at postponing the December performances but were looking forward to the shows next summer.

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