In a statement released on Wednesday 25 March 2020: “The decision has by no means been taken lightly, but we feel it is necessary to help slow the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) in our community and reduce people’s chances of infection, following advice from the Victorian Chief Health Officer.”
“We acknowledge that these are unique circumstances and the impact to our sector is unprecedented. We are working closely with all relevant stakeholders to ensure we achieve an optimal outcome for the festival, our artists and the sector more broadly. However, this will take some time as we assess the new and continually shifting landscape.”
“As people in the business of gatherings and live experiences, it’s hard to comprehend what this global issue will mean for the way we operate, consume art and socialise,” said Co-Artistic Directors Hannah Fox and Gideon Obarzanek. “We are worried for the full spectrum of artists, our colleagues and the whole community and hope that some unity and new ideas can be found in mass isolation.”
“It’s heartening to see the ingenuity, resourcefulness, trench humour and generosity already being exhibited by our community and we will be contributing as much as we can in all of these areas as we reshape the festival for 2021,” they added.
Further details on the 2021 festival will be released later this year. For more information, visit: www.festival.melbourne for details.
Image: Melbourne Festival 2018, Fire Gardens at the Royal Botanic Gardens – photo by Sarah Walker