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Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras moves to SCG in 2021 to ensure COVIDSafe celebrations

Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras moves to SCG in 2021 to ensure COVIDSafe celebrations
November 5, 2020

To ensure the safety of parade participants, spectators and community, the 43rd edition of the annual Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras parade on Oxford Street will be a COVIDSafe scaled-back, ticketed event held at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) on Saturday 6th March with a limited capacity of 23,000 – with organisers charging $20 for admission.

The Mardi Gras parade in 2021, with a theme of “RISE”, will also be broadcast live on television by Parade partner SBS ensuring revellers from across Australia can tune-in to be a part of the celebrations from the comfort of their homes.

The 2021 Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade is supported by the City of Sydney, Government Partner and Sponsor of the Mardi Gras Festival and the NSW Government through its tourism and major events agency Destination NSW.

The 2021 Mardi Gras theme ‘RISE’ is a poignant message during the challenge and hardship that 2020 has presented, and a nod to the direction Mardi Gras is moving towards with their Always On vision. The theme is a call to action that now is the time to rise again through love, compassion, respect and understanding, and to work together to make the world a better place for all.

Mardi Gras Chief Executive, Albert Kruger advised “with a greater focus on community, our 2021 Parade will move away from large floats, centring instead on the outlandish pageantry of costumes, puppetry and props that make it such a phenomenon to witness.

“Mardi Gras has always been the epitome of creative expression through art and culture; two things severely impacted by COVID-19 this year. So it was important to Mardi Gras that we rise to the occasion and to give the community the creative platform to express their pride to the world. The 2021 Parade may look different to how it has been in the past, but we feel very lucky to be able to give this opportunity to our communities during these times.

“The team at Mardi Gras have worked tirelessly with NSW Health to develop a COVIDSafe event plan to ensure the Parade can go forward and we’re excited by the prospect of staging the event at the SCG. Not only is the SCG close to our spiritual home of Oxford Street, but it also provides the safest venue for us to hold the event and meet requirements of physical distancing and contact tracing.”

Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore notes “The City of Sydney is a proud, long-term supporter of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras and I commend the organisation for adapting to the challenges presented by Covid-19.

“It is poignant that this year’s parade was the last major event held before we had to go into lockdown to contain the spread of the Coronavirus. I know many in our community, myself included, have held onto our happy memories of Mardi Gras 2020 to get us through this challenging year.

“Mardi Gras will look different in 2021 but importantly it will give us the opportunity to come together safely and celebrate. Of course I look forward to the day when tens of thousands of Sydneysiders and visitors from around Australia and the world can gather on Oxford Street once more.”

After the most recent Mardi Gras celebrations, the organisation executed a comprehensive community consultation process to better understand how the LGBTQI+ community would like to see Mardi Gras represent them in the future. The outcome of this process has formed a new vision, ‘Always On’, that will see Mardi Gras develop year round initiatives to provide a platform for LGBTQI+ people, community groups and partners to celebrate, share experiences and provide support, no matter where they are.

Kruger added “while we are well known for our main annual event in Sydney, our surveying of the community has shown us that we can be so much more than a parade.

“Our vision of Always On will see us rise to community expectations and provide year round opportunities for the LGBTQI+ community to have their voices heard.

“Always On will see us commission and support the development of queer performance and content, support more events beyond Oxford Street, extend our voice to highlight social injustice and support major campaigns, and support community and grassroots organisations year round.

“These are just some of the initiatives that make up the foundation of our Always On vision.”

Mardi Gras are also working with NSW Health on a number of different COVIDSafe plans to stage additional events, like the popular Fair Day, in 2021. Updates on the progress of this planning will be provided in the coming weeks.

Tickets for the live Parade spectacle go on sale, Monday 9th November.

For more information/bookings go to www.mardigras.org.au 

Images of Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade. Credit Jeffrey Feng Photography 

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