The 43rd annual Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras parade won’t go ahead as usual in 2021.
Next year’s event is still scheduled for Saturday, March 6. However the ticketed event will move to the Sydney Cricket Ground on that date instead.
Mardi Gras floats and 5000 marchers will circle the stadium, instead of the usual route down Oxford Street. An audience of 23,000 will watch on from the stands at the SCG.
The event will be broadcast live on SBS and social media on March 6. Tickets will go on sale next week.
Organisers say the new plans will “ensure the safety of parade participants, spectators and the community at large” due to COVID-19.
Mardi Gras CEO Albert Kruger said the 2021 Parade will “look different to how it has been in the past”.
“But we feel very lucky to be able to give this opportunity to our communities during these times,” he said.
“Mardi Gras has always been the epitome of creative expression through art and culture; two things severely impacted by COVID-19 this year.
“So it was important to Mardi Gras that we rise to the occasion and to give the community the creative platform to express their pride to the world.”
Sydney Cricket Ground is ‘safest venue’ for Mardi Gras celebrations
CEO Albert Kruger said the Mardi Gras team have worked with NSW Health to develop a COVID Safe plan for the parade.
“Not only is the SCG close to our spiritual home of Oxford Street, but it also provides the safest venue for us to hold the event and meet requirements of physical distancing and contact tracing,” he said.
“With a greater focus on community, our 2021 Parade will move away from large floats. [Instead it will centre] on the outlandish pageantry of costumes, puppetry and props that make it such a phenomenon to witness.”
The 2021 Mardi Gras theme is “RISE”, which organisers say is “a poignant message during the challenge and hardship” of 2020.
Mardi Gras are also working on a number of different COVID-safe plans for other events. They hope the popular Fair Day will go ahead in 2021.
This year’s Mardi Gras festivities were held on February 29. It was one of the city’s last major events before COVID-19 restrictions shut down events and closed borders.
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