Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras has cancelled its annual Party and several other events with large gatherings due to COVID-19.
Mardi Gras made the announcement due to Sydney’s ongoing restrictions on gatherings and dancefloors. As a result, a range of the festival’s usual events won’t go ahead.
The annual Party, as well as Laneway, Pool Party, Kaftan Party, Sissy Ball, Family Fun Day and Queer Art After Hours are cancelled.
Mardi Gras also earlier announced Fair Day wouldn’t go ahead this year due to crowd restrictions.
“We’d looked towards the New Year with hope that we could stage these events in a safe format,” a spokesperson said.
“[But] the reality is that hosting any dance party events would pose too much risk to the health and safety of our community.
“We had workshopped many different event plans to find a way to make these events work.
“But with the current health orders we felt it best to hit the pause button for this year. [We’ll] bring them back when we know it’s safe to do so.”
Mardi Gras Parade and other events to still go ahead
However Mardi Gras says some other live festival events will still proceed.
A lineup of queer comedians will still perform at the Laugh Out Proud comedy gala. Speaking events Queer Thinking, My Trans Story and My Drag Story are also still on.
Mardi Gras will also livestream the events for those unable to attend in person.
And on Saturday, March 6, the 43rd annual Mardi Gras parade will move from Sydney’s streets to the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG).
The event will be a ticketed event with seated spectators. However last week, Mardi Gras temporarily paused ticket sales for the Parade due to “evolving government recommendations”.
That night, SBS will broadcast and livestream the Parade online across the country.
“We encourage you to hold your own Covid-safe celebrations at home and tune into the broadcast,” a spokesperson said.
“In wanting to provide greater opportunities for our communities to come together all year round, we’re also working on plans to hold events later in the year.
“When it’s safe to do so we will come together again to dance and to party. We will rise.”