Melbourne’s much-loved celebration of queer art, culture and community, Midsumma Festival has today announced that in response to the rapidly changing dynamics of the COVID-19 pandemic next year’s festival will be postponed. The festival will now run from April 19 through to May 5.
“I think everybody knows that the roadmap dates that were released a few weeks ago made it really clear there was going to be ongoing impacts on gatherings moving into the new year,” Karen Bryant told Star Observer. “Also, a lot of the venues we were talking to were unable to plan to reopen just yet, and so could not commit to dates in mid-January.”
While many festivals have chosen to go down the all-digital path over recent months Midsumma have chosen to buck this trend. Which Bryant explained by saying, “The actual ability for people to get together is really important in our community, and a lot of the artists that make up the festival were saying they just can’t plan events, we thought the best thing to do was to find some dates, postpone and provide some time for things to open up. Hopefully we can still deliver a festival that is really engaging.
“There is also a fatigue with digital. We wanted to, particularly going into a new year, give that space and time to support our artists and event producers post COVID. We wanted to be around at the right time to support them as they reestablish their practices post COVID.”
To this point, the festival is collaborating with digital industry professionals to produce virtual augmentation for the festival. This will of course include live streaming of selected events, ensuring that Midsumma remains an open access festival which is available to all, as Felicity McIntosh, Marketing and Communications Manager explained.
“The virtual augmentation of the festival alongside it as well, that not only gives us the best chance to produce something for April/May if unfortunately we have another wave. It also makes it accessible for really vulnerable people who may not be able to go out to events at the time anyway.”
For those in Melbourne that have been waiting in anticipation to join in the revelry that is Carnival, an event that in recent years has grown to attract 130,000 people each year, news of the festival having been postponed is bittersweet.
“I don’t think we will have that many people in Alexandria Gardens for April/May but we are looking at other ways we can produce an event of that same love and nature,” said McIntosh “We are hoping to announce what those events will be by the end of October, but at this stage Carnival will not go ahead as normal.”
“Midsumma Pride March will be at the end of May and will be one of the events that is live streamed,” said McIntosh. “The weather could still be anything from really hot to freezing cold, though it will obviously be a little bit cooler which will make everyone’s fantastic outfits a little easier to wear… No one will be melting in autumn… hopefully!”
With these new festival dates not to so much falling in mid-summer, but in mid-autumn instead, McIntosh concluded by saying; “We are keeping the name of course and we are throwing out a couple of fun hashtags like #midautumnfestival and another that was bouncing around #latesummerfestival which we thought was quite fun and exciting too. But yes, I can definitely confirm the name will stay the same and yes we will revert back to our normal dates in 2022.”