News State NSW News Sydney News Sydney Mardi Gras to go ahead at SCG with restrictions due to coronavirus

Sydney Mardi Gras to go ahead at SCG with restrictions due to coronavirus

mardi gras
More than 10,000 revellers usually march in Sydney's Mardi Gras, but this year will be different. Photo: ABC
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Organisers of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras have announced the event will be going ahead in 2021, at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

Attendees will be seated with the event taking place on Saturday, March 6.

About 10,000 revellers usually join the world-famous parade as it heads down Oxford Street — but this time around, up to 23,000 spectators will be seated at the SCG instead.

Organisers say the parade will move away from large floats and focus on outlandish costumes, puppetry and props to entertain the crowds.

Mardi Gras CEO Albert Kruger said he was looking forward to the glittering event’s “rise to the occasion” within the limitations of the pandemic.

“Mardi Gras has always been the epitome of creative expression through art and culture; two things severely impacted by COVID-19 this year,” he said.

“The 2021 parade may look different to how it has been in the past, but we feel very lucky to be able to give this opportunity to our communities during these times.”

Mr Kruger confirmed the sentiment — “RISE” — was the theme of this year’s event.

“Rise [is] a poignant message during the challenge and hardship that 2020 has presented, and a nod to the direction Mardi Gras is moving towards,” he said.

“The theme is a call to action that now is the time to rise again through love, compassion, respect and understanding, and to work together to make the world a better place for all.”

Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore said the city remained a proud, long-term supporter and commended Mardi Gras for adapting the event.

“I know many in our community, myself included, have held onto our happy memories of Mardi Gras 2020 to get us through this challenging year,” she said.

“Of course I look forward to the day when tens of thousands of Sydneysiders and visitors from around Australia and the world can gather on Oxford Street once more.”

Mr Kruger said he was expanding the reach of Mardi Gras to provide “year-round opportunities for the LGBTQI+ community to have their voices heard”.

He said the initiative, known as Always On, “will see us commission and support the development of queer performance and content, support more events beyond Oxford Street, extend our voice to highlight social injustice and support major campaigns, and support community and grassroots organisations year round”.