By TILEAH DOBSON
The Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) will once again host the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade, with the event set to take place at the hallowed cricket ground on Saturday, 5 March, 2022.
Due to concerns around Covid-19, the parade was held as a ticketed event at the SCG this year, instead of its usual Oxford Street location, with 23,000 spectators watching on.
Mardi Gras organisers have announced that as well as the parade being held again in the SCG, the Mardi Gras Festival – packed with theatre performances, visual arts, parties, community gatherings, panel discussions and more – will run from 18 February to 6 March.
The theme for the 2022 Mardi Gras has been revealed as ‘United We Shine’. Expanding on the theme, Mardi Gras CEO Albert Kruger said: “Our theme … is a reminder of all that we can achieve when our communities rise as one. It is a call to stand united against the inequalities LGBTQI+ people continue to face and empowers us with the strength that our history shows: that we have the power to create a more equitable society.
“For over 40 years we have fought for equality, allowing us to live openly and authentically, free from stigma. A lot has changed for the better and the new generation of LGBTQI+ Australians are growing up in a more accepting time.
“The time to use our voices and rally together has never been more important than it is now. We need to be stronger together so that we can fight discrimination and move closer to a future of equality,” he said.
Thousands of spectators are expected to take to the SCG for next year’s parade, in an event full of shimmering bright colours, community and love. Those who cannot attend in person will be able to join in via live broadcasts on television and online.
Organisers said they decided on a repeat event at the SCG, rather than the traditional Oxford Street location, in the interests of safety.
“Our priority with planning for next year’s Parade was ensuring we can once again deliver a safe event. There’s still uncertainty of what March is going to look like for us. Mardi Gras can’t guarantee that in the next few months things will be back to normal and we can safely have hundreds of thousands spectators on the streets,” Kruger said.
“The Parade is too important to the community to risk having to cancel. So right now, when decisions need to be made, the SCG is the best option for us to guarantee that we can come together to keep the spirit of Mardi Gras’ history of protest and celebration shining bright in 2022.
“What we do know is that we can stage an incredible and safe Parade in the SCG,” he said.
NSW Minister for Tourism, Stuart Ayres, said the NSW Government was fully supportive of Mardi Gras.
“Mardi Gras is a celebration of NSW’s pride, diversity and inclusion, and we are immensely proud that it has become one of the largest and most successful LGBTQI+ events in the world,” Ayres states.
“Since 2009, the Mardi Gras Parade is estimated to have generated approximately $390 million in total visitor spend from intrastate, interstate and international visitors.
“The event is watched around the world and continues to promote Sydney and NSW to millions of potential visitors into the future.”
Tickets for the Mardi Gras 2022 Parade will go on sale on Monday, 15 November, 2021.
Those wishing to participate with either a float, a stall or as a volunteer can register expressions of interest at www.mardigras.org.au.
Tileah Dobson is the news editor of the Sydney Sentinel.