St. Kilda Festival organisers have announced they’ve cancelled next February’s event, some six months before it was scheduled to take place, due to concerns around coronavirus. Port Phillip Council decided at a meeting last night to forego the 2021 iteration of the festival “as safety and restriction uncertainties continue to surround the COVID-19 pandemic”.
“The St Kilda Festival will be missed next year – but not forgotten,” commented City of Port Phillip mayor Bernadene Voss. “Our intention is to come back bigger and better than ever in 2022. In the meantime, this gives us an opportunity to reimagine the Festival for 2021 and look at funding a range of options which can be enjoyed when restrictions have eased.”
In lieu of next year’s festival, the $1.7 million allotted to the event will be “spent on economic and cultural recovery initiatives when restrictions ease”.
The event, which has run since the early 1980s, typically draws a crowd of around 400,000 people and has a significant economic benefit – between $25-30 million – to Victoria. Next year’s edition would have taken place on Sunday, 14th February.
Last week, City of Port Phillip councillor Andrew Bond explained some of the issues around planning for an event next year given uncertainties around restrictions on mass gatherings.
“Council has thrown around ideas such as hosting a scaled back version, but even hosting a scaled back event has an element of risk to it,” wrote Bond in a Facebook post. “What happens if 400,000 people come to St Kilda anyway because that’s what people do on the 2nd Sunday of February?”