Carnival attendees have been warned to confine their drinking to the allocated areas to ensure a smooth and problem-free event.

Midsumma major events associate producer Simon Patterson said the warning was twofold.

“I’d encourage everyone to confine their drinking to the official Market and Greyhound bars, for a number of reasons. The revenue for those bars is an important way for us to pay for the event — Carnival costs almost a quarter of a million dollars to put on.

“And of course there’s the health and safety issue if everyone brings their own drinks, with broken glass ending up everywhere. Both the bars just serve plastic bottles and cups, which helps us to control those issues and makes the clean-up that much easier.”

The Midsumma Festival gets underway this Sunday with Carnival, one of the biggest events on the three-week festival’s calendar.

“It’s an exciting time of year,” Patterson told Southern Star.

“The growth in the number of stallholders this year is really fantastic. And we’ve got the two stages again, which will have a big line-up throughout the day including Community Conversations, where different community groups will get on stage and talk about what they’ve got on.

“Then in the afternoon, the festival showcase will show a range of cabaret and musical performances from across the festival.”

The festival kicks off at 11am on Sunday and, while Carnival itself is a free event, there will be charity collectors at the boundaries of Alexandra Gardens seeking donations.

“We do ask people to make a $5 donation when they come in, because it really helps us,” Patterson said.

“And the donation collectors are from community and sporting groups who take some of the money, so when you donate, you don’t just help Midsumma, you help a range of smaller community groups too.”

Once the day’s activities finish at 6pm, revellers can kick on at the open-air T Dance until midnight, with international acts Paul Heron and Inaya Day lined up to entertain the crowd. All that’s left to do now is pray for good weather.

“It’s such a beautiful time of year, so we should be fine,” Patterson said.

“And a lot of other cities around the world are a little bit jealous of Melbourne, because audiences here are used to going out come rain, hail or shine.

“Up in Sydney, the first sign of rain and they get worried about their hair and stay home.”

info: Carnival runs 11am-6pm, January 17 at the Alexandra Gardens. Visit www.midsumma.org.au

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