Parade, Fair Day and other key Mardi Gras events to proceed despite Party cancellation

The 2022 Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Party will not go ahead, organisers have confirmed, but a host of other events will proceed as planned. Photo: www.mardigras.org.au.

By PETER HACKNEY

After weeks of speculation, the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras has confirmed the 2022 Mardi Gras Party will not go ahead, due to Covid-19 concerns.

With the Omicron variant of Covid continuing to take a heavy toll on Sydney and NSW, Mardi Gras organisers released a statement overnight saying that in the current climate, holding Party would present a high risk to revellers – and fall foul of government Public Health Orders.

“It’s with very heavy hearts we must advise that Party will no longer take place in 2022,” the statement read.

“The team at Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras has worked tirelessly with NSW Health, the state government and venues at all stages of planning for our entire Festival, however Party is not operable under the state’s Public Health Order.”

The event’s cancellation was earlier foreshadowed by Mardi Gras CEO Albert Kruger, who raised the possibility of Party being cancelled an interview with the Sydney Sentinel published yesterday.

Ticketholders to Party will now be issued refunds, to be automatically processed by Ticketek, with funds expected to hit ticketholders’ accounts in seven to ten business days.

Patrons wishing to support Mardi Gras at this challenging time have the option of donating a portion of their ticket value to Mardi Gras, to help the organisation offset losses incurred by the cancellation, and other challenges posed by Covid-19.

Those wishing to donate can do so securely online at www.mardigras.org.au/support-us. All donations over $2 are tax deductible.

Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras CEO Albert Kruger, pictured, foreshadowed the cancellation of Party in an interview with the Sentinel‘s Gary Nunn published yesterday. Photo: Ann-Marie Calilhanna.

Most Mardi Gras events still happening

While the cancellation of Party is a huge disappointment, other landmark events at this year’s Mardi Gras Festival will continue, including the iconic Parade and Fair Day.

“There will be other opportunities for us to come together this Mardi Gras Festival. We have approved Covid-safe plans and procedures in place to ensure other key events, including community favourites Fair Day and Parade, can still go ahead as planned,” said Mardi Gras.

“Most of our events are outdoor and/or seated, meaning they fit under the Health Order and are deemed lower risk. We will continue working with NSW Health to ensure that all the remaining exciting Festival events fall within current Covid safety guidelines.”

The annual Queer Screen Mardi Gras Film Festival (MGFF) is among the offerings which will continue as planned, with the ticketed, seated nature of screenings ensuring they can be held in a relatively safe manner.

The film festival will also be offering On Demand screenings, ensuring the immunocompromised and those with concerns about attending public events can still participate.

“We understand there is ongoing uncertainty in the community regarding the Omicron outbreak in Sydney and are delivering a hybrid festival to ensure the program is as accessible as possible and adheres to our Covid-19 safety plan,” MGFF festival director Lisa Rose confirmed on Wednesday.

“This means LGBTIQ+ communities in Sydney can choose to attend in the cinema or online, and regional and interstate friends of the festival can join [us] wherever they are in Australia. More than half of the festival’s world-class program is available to stream, On Demand,” she said.

For further information about 2022 Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras and associated events, visit www.mardigras.org.au.

Peter Hackney is the editor-in-chief of the Sydney Sentinel.

For further news, feature articles, reviews, opinion, podcasts and much more, visit https://sydneysentinel.com.au. You can also like/follow us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

======================================