Melbourne Pride, a one-day street party event to commemorate the 40th anniversary of Victoria decriminalising homosexuality, has been postponed to February 13, 2022. The event was originally scheduled to be held on December 5, 2021.

Victorian Premier Dan Andrews had in July announced the Melbourne Pride event during the opening of the Victorian Pride Centre. Since then the state went into its sixth lockdown to deal with a COVID-19 outbreak of the Delta variant.

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While Victoria is set to end the lockdown on October 21 as 70% of the eligible population (16+) gets vaccinated, the state and the health department are still grappling with a high number of infections. The postponement to a later date next year seems to reflect that restrictions on events will still be in place in November and December. 

$ 2 Million Support To Organise Melbourne Pride

“The new date for Melbourne Pride will help make this event as fabulous as our diverse rainbow communities,” Minister for Health and Equality Martin Foley  said in a statement. 

Member for Richmond Richard Wynne said that the government wanted “as many LGBTIQ+ Victorians and their supporters as possible to come together and celebrate with pride  in the inner north.” 

Victoria decriminalised homosexuality in December 1980 and an event to mark the 40th anniversary was one of the promises made by the Labor government during the last elections. The Andrews government said that it had delivered around $ 2 million to support the Melbourne Pride event. 

Daniel Andrews Martin Foley budget

(PHOTO: Matthew Wade; Star Observer)

The new dates would mean that the Melbourne Pride event scheduled to be held in the city’s inner north, will be held one week after the Midsumma Pride march – the annual pride march in the city on Fitzroy Street – on February 6. Midsumma Festival, which has been contracted by the state government to manage Melbourne Pride, will be at the helm of both events. 

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“The delay is purely to ensure that Melbourne Pride can go ahead with a decent capacity,” Karen Bryant, CEO, Midsumma Festival told Star Observer. 

A One-Off Street Party

midsumma karen bryant

Karen Bryant, CEO, Midsumma Festival

The government is yet to release a public events framework for November and December, but it is expected that there will be caps on the number of people at large events.

“A lot of events that were planned for November and early December are just canceling it. There was a really strong commitment to ensuring that Melbourne Pride goes ahead for our communities. The postponement is actually a really exciting thing to make sure that it can happen,” said Bryant, adding, “We want to make sure that the most number of people can participate in the event.”

The plans for the one-off Melbourne Pride include a day-long street party in the inner North, with other state-wide events, including a digital component leading up to that day.

With the event happening a week after Midsumma pride march, Bryant said much of the infrastructure and resources will already be in place for the February 13 event.

 “Melbourne Pride is a standalone event, and will have its own identity. It’ll obviously utilise a lot of a lot of the resources we’ll have in place at that time, staff, volunteers, those sorts of things,” said Bryant.

Midsumma Festival Will Go Ahead

Midsumma Pride 2021. Photo: Mattia Abad

The Midsumma Festival is scheduled to return next year from January 23 – February 13, 2022. Organisers are optimistic that the 2022 edition will be as close to normal unlike in 2021.

COVID-19 restrictions were still in place in early 2021 which led the festival this year to be postponed to mid April. The Midsumma Pride march took place took place on May 23 with reduced numbers, down to 10,000 from the 40,000 people who attended it every year. One the festival’s most popular events Midsumma Carnival, that attracts over 130,000 people every year, was cancelled.

“We are going ahead with the full expectation that Midsumma Festival will go ahead. There will be restrictions, just like there was for this year,  in capacities, social distancing and things like that. But obviously we haven’t got approval yet. We are working very closely with the government, and we expect that we will be able to go ahead with the festival in January and February,” added Bryant.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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