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Saturday, January 16, 2021

Cancel, postpone or pivot: what’s happening to Canberra’s big events

While the summer season in the ACT might usually be the city’s liveliest time, a growing list of events continues to be altered or cancelled due COVID-19.

From the cancellation of New Year’s Eve fireworks and Australia Day celebrations, to the postponement of the National Multicultural Festival, the Territory’s hottest months are going to look a little different this time.

New Year’s Eve: NYE celebrations are among the ACT’s big events to pivot, replacing the usual countdown and fireworks with three nights of celebrating Canberra’s best local eats.

The ACT Government initiative is encouraging Canberrans to book a table at a local restaurant from 29 to 31 December with pop-up musical performances staged around the city on NYE.

Further details about this event are set to be announced in coming weeks.

Summernats: Announced in late September, the iconic annual Summernats festival has been delayed until 2022, with a reduced capacity Rev Rock ‘n’ Roll event to be held in March 2021.

Usually held in early January, the event was postponed due to its venue, Exhibition Park (EPIC), being used as a COVID-19 testing facility.

Rev Rock ‘n’ Roll will be scheduled at EPIC from 5 to 7 March 2021 with a maximum of 5,000 spectators.

Australia Day: The ACT Government have announced no fireworks will go ahead as part of Australia Day celebrations in the Capital.

There is no information about the annual Australia Day concert, however more information on the event is due to be released in January.

National Multicultural Festival: Canberra’s annual multicultural festival,which regularly attracts over 200,000spectators to the city centre across three days,has also been added to the list of postponed events.

Usually taking place in February, organisers have decided to postpone the event in the hope of retaining as much of the original feel of the festival.

Event organisers are set to announce more information in the New Year.

Royal Canberra Show: On 30 November, Show organisers made the disappointing announcement of the event’s cancellation, the first time it has been cancelled in over 70 years.

The ACT Government’s latest COVID-19 restrictions state no events of more than 5,000 people can go ahead, putting the event’s usual crowd of 50,000 spectators and 25,000 competitors off the table.

Organisers are hoping sponsors and spectators will jump back on board in support of the event in 2022.

National Folk Festival: Organisers announced the cancellation its 2021 event in October, after this year’s event, scheduled over the Easter long weekend (9-13 April) was cancelled due to COVID.

The event is said to be returning to EPIC in 2022.

Enlighten Festival: Enlighten Festival will return to the national capital during 2021, holding COVID-safe events across 17 days from 26 February.

Five events will run including illuminations through the Parliamentary Triangle, a short film festival screening, and Symphony in the Park.

These events are free, but will be ticketed to ensure numbers are COVID-safe.  

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Ian Cubitts
Ian Cubitts