OUR PLAN FOR MARDI GRAS 2021
2020 has been a chaotic year for the world, least of all for the many of us who work in the arts and culture industry. Across the nation, creators, performers, artists and those who work in events have struggled to keep their heads above water.
As an arts and culture organisation, we have seen and we have felt the struggles of people within this sector, many of whom identify as part our community.
Even at this time while things appear to be getting back to normal, there are many restrictions still in place impacting the arts and culture sector and the organisation of mass events.
After such a hard year, we felt we had to do everything we could to keep Mardi Gras in our calendars. We felt it was so important to hold the parade, even if we had to change the format to comply with COVID-19 restrictions.
We are not quitters and hated the idea of cancelling so we created what we could, in the largest venue we could. This is not only to provide much-needed funding to the hundreds of creatives that support each Mardi Gras but to make sure that we can come together as a community.
Amid event cancellations around the country, we have found a way to continue.
Having worked closely with NSW Health on an alternative plan, and I’m pleased to let you know that the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade will go ahead at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) on 6 March.
Yes, the Parade will look different to how it has in the past, but the spirit of celebration and expression of protest will remain strong. Even in this new COVID world, we have a chance to express ourselves authentically, connect with each other and live loud and proud.
Oxford Street is and always will be the spiritual home of Mardi Gras, and we will return to it as soon as we are able. However, the SCG is the right alternative. It is the closest large venue to Oxford Street, it will allow for people to be seated and appropriately distanced and, as a ticketed event, will assist public health officials in contact tracing, should the need arise.
And of course, there’s something nice and a little bit cheeky about bringing the Mardi Gras – in all of its garish colour and audaciousness – to a traditionally straight-laced venue like the SCG.
As I revealed in my speech at today's Media Launch (you can see the recording on Facebook here), we want to make the Parade as accessible as possible, so we are setting aside 1,000 free tickets for those in our community who are feeling the impact of COVID-19. I'll have more to say on this shortly.
We were faced with some hard decisions about Mardi Gras 2021, however we’re proud of the plan we now have in place. We went through every possibility, and this one will ensure we can honour our commitment to you to hold the parade, which has happened every year since it was founded 1978.