Here’s What Wisconsin’s Nu-Metal Coronavirus Fest Looked Like

This weekend, a three-day Wisconsin nu-metal festival (fka “Herd Immunity”) went ahead as planned. Or almost as planned, as a few acts dropped off the lineup and were replaced with other artists by event organizers. The event, which ran from 7/16-18, included performances by Static-X, Saving Abel, Adelita’s Way, Flaw, Sponge, and more. It took place on the lawn of the Q&Z Expo Center in Ringle, WI. Wisconsin state mandates technically permitted the festival’s existence, though local officials seemed less than happy that it was occurring after they found out about it on The View.

Prior to the event, headliners Static-X posted a long statement encouraging attendees to practice social distancing and wear masks. “While your community leaders have deemed this to be a safe and acceptable gathering, we would still like to personally ask for each and every one of you to go the extra mile to help everyone remain safe…” they wrote.

On Saturday, the venue posted a couple photos from the event captioned: “Things are going GREAT people are being very respectful. Bet all the BS media won’t be writing stories about this. […] NOTICE the social distancing proving that LIVE MUSIC can be done during times like these.”

Sponge, who were the headliners on the first night of the festival, gave an interview to The Oakland Press in which frontman Vinnie Dombroski called the event “a positive experience.” He estimated that there were between 750 and 1,000 people for their Thursday night set, and while they seemed distanced many of them were not wearing masks.

“It seems like social distancing has gotten to be the norm,” Dombroski told The Oakland Press. “If it was a family, they stood together, but people were in rows and it seems like people are getting sort of programmed — ‘OK, I’m gonna stand six feet away from somebody else.’ I was surprised to see that being so natural to folks. There was no mosh pit or trying to get up close to the band.”

He continued: “I don’t know what’s going go on the other days, but from what I saw yesterday (people) were doing a good job. I was a little surprised, but my experience was a positive one, as risky as it sounded.”

As of last week, there were 326 positive coronavirus cases in Marathon County, where the festival took place. Two people have died.

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