COVID-19 threat forces parade off Oxford Street again

The Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras parade along Oxford Street has been cancelled for the second year in a row, with organisers blaming uncertainty over COVID-19 for their decision to hold the event at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

Mardi Gras chief executive Albert Kruger said it was too risky to hold a street parade because of doubts over the level of restrictions that will be in place for major events next year.

Lifesaver Michelle Ricketts, Mardi Gras chief executive Albert Kruger and performer Coco Jumbo at the Sydney Cricket Ground, which will again host the Mardi Gras parade.

Lifesaver Michelle Ricketts, Mardi Gras chief executive Albert Kruger and performer Coco Jumbo at the Sydney Cricket Ground, which will again host the Mardi Gras parade. Credit:James Brickwood

“There is also a question mark on whether there will be future lockdowns after vaccine targets are met,” he said. “We do not want to be in a position where we may be forced to cancel the Mardi Gras parade.”

But Mr Kruger said there were plans to bring the parade back to Oxford Street in 2023 when Sydney will also host WorldPride, an international LGBTI festival.

The parade, which is themed United We Shine, is scheduled for March 5 next year, with tickets priced at up to $25.

Mr Kruger said the price of admission to the SCG would help cover costs, but 3000 free tickets would also be provided. Mardi Gras members will receive two complimentary tickets.

Mr Kruger said the SCG provided the best chance for the parade to proceed regardless of the COVID-19 situation. He said the ideal scenario would be to have a capacity crowd at the stadium for the parade.

“We have room to scale parade attendance up, and we have the capability to meet requirements like physical distancing, double vaccinations and contact tracing,” he said.

The 2022 parade at the SCG would be similar to this year’s event, Mr Kruger said. “Once again, there will be some incredible music acts and the parade participants will focus more on colourful costumes and puppetry over large-scale float concepts.”


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