The annual Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras parade will not go ahead as per usual in 2021.
Instead of the usual jubilant parade down Oxford Street, the Mardi Gras party will be held as a ticketed event at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Saturday 6 March 2021, where floats will instead do a lap of the stadium.
“In order to ensure the safety of parade participants, spectators and the community at large, the 2021 Parade will be held at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG), where a capacity of 23,000 audience members will watch on as community groups unite in an extravagant show of pride and passion,” say organisers in a statement, pointing out that the 2021 Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade will become the first internationally significant event to be staged since the spread of COVID-19.
SBS will still broadcast the event live.
“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,” adds Mardi Gras CEO Albert Kruger.
“The team at Mardi Gras have worked tirelessly with NSW Health to develop a COVID Safe event plan to ensure the Parade can go forward and we’re excited by the prospect of staging the event at the SCG,” says Kruger. “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.
Kruger also notes that the 2021 parade will pivot from a focus on large floats, with a focus more towards “the outlandish pageantry of costumes, puppetry and props that make it such a phenomenon to witness.”
The 2021 Mardi Gras theme is ‘RISE’.
Parade entry and Parade volunteer applications open on Monday 9 November. Tickets for the live Parade spectacle go on sale Monday 9 November, here.
UPDATE: The headline for this article has been changed. The 2021 event is not cancelled, it has been moved to another venue with COVID-Safe restrictions.