2021 St Kilda Festival could be postponed due to COVID-19

St Kilda Festival could be postponed due to COVID-19 despite not being scheduled to take place until February next year.

In a Facebook post on Saturday, City of Port Phillip councillor Andrew Bond explainied the predicament of the current stage four restrictions plus the likelihood of ongoing difficulties in hosting public gatherings.

He said those issues have forced council to under a 'yes or no' vote at their council meeting this Wednesday.

Cr Bond said he would find it 'extremely difficult' to vote yes as the event usually draws 400,000 people or more to the area and has an economic benefit of $25-$30 million to Victoria.

It would be the 41st running of the event and Cr Bond said the council would likely vote to postpone it for a year with plans for it to return in February 2022.

He added council had discussed smaller versions of the festival but all of them seemed very difficult to plan for.

"Unfortunately due to the ongoing uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 it has become extremely difficult to say 'yes' as much as I wish I could, as there is just too much uncertainty surrounding too many elements of the Festival, not the least being will 400,000 plus people be allowed to gather in one place at an event such as St Kilda Festival in six months time," Cr Bond wrote.

"On Wednesday evening at the council meeting the proposal will be to postpone the St Kilda Festival for 12 months and with a plan to come back bigger and better than ever in 2022."

Cr Bond said he feared trying to run a 'scaled back' event could see huge crowds still flock to St Kilda and create a health hazard.

"Council has thrown around ideas such as hosting a scaled back version, but even hosting a scaled back event has an element of risk to it, such as what happens if 400,000 people come to St Kilda anyway because that’s what people do on the 2nd Sunday of February?" Cr Bond wrote.

"The St Kilda Festival has an economic benefit to Victoria of around $25-30 million, most of which is spent directly in St Kilda. This is a fantastic return on investment for council's $1.7 million spent on the festival and the envy of events everywhere.

"For many traders, the St Kilda Festival is their biggest trading day of the year, and the festival's cancellation will be yet another blow to many businesses who are suffering so much already.

"Council has held back for as long as it can in the hope that the current situation improves and an event of some description would be possible, but unfortunately there is just too much uncertainty about too many aspects of the festival for a decision to continue to be possible."

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