Iconic festival cancelled for first time in 66 years
Melbourne's iconic Moomba festival has been cancelled for the first time in the event's 66-year history.
The City of Melbourne on Thursday decided to scrap the event, planned to kick off on March 5, amid reduced crowd capacities and the cancellation of some of the festival's most popular attractions.
Lord Mayor Sally Capp said last week's snap lockdown had also contributed to the decision to axe the event with interstate suppliers unwilling to commit to the festival.
"Reduced crowds together with the cancellation of key elements such as the Birdman Rally, the Moomba Parade, and most recently, the water skiing, mean that the Moomba we know and love cannot go ahead," Lord Mayor Sally Capp said.
"Historically, we would welcome around 1.3 million people to Moomba over the Labour Day weekend.
"This year, because of COVID-19 safety requirements, we would be able to only have around 14,000 attendees at Moomba each day."
The famous Birdman Rally and traditional festival parade had already been cancelled.
The Victorian Water Ski Association this week decided to cancel its 2021 Nautique Moomba Masters water sports event, a key attraction of the festival.
Moomba was the last major event to take place in Melbourne before COVID restrictions were introduced last year.
It is the first time the festival has not gone ahead since it was first introduced in 1955.
Ms Capp said other events would take place in the city to encourage Melburnians to explore the city over the March long weekend.
They will include a series of live Music "pop-up" buskers and roving performers and concerts by Spiderbait, Jebediah, Bodyjar and the Cat Empire.
City Reactivation portfolio lead, Councillor Roshena Campbell, said the City of Melbourne would invest $1 million into a range of family friendly events in coming months.
"The decision to not proceed with Moomba will be disappointing for many Melbourne families but we want to ensure they can still enjoy the vibrant atmosphere of Moomba with free family friendly activities in the city over the long weekend," Cr Campbell said.
"Riverslide Skate Park in Alexandra Gardens will still host the Australian Skate League National Championships over the Labour Day Long Weekend.
"We are also committed to delivering a line-up of exciting activities to inject energy into the city. This will include a program of live pop-up performances from major high profile-artists in partnership with Mushroom Records.
"Over the coming months we will create an iconic Pirate Cove themed playground and a Unicorn Garden featuring fairies and rainbow installations."
Originally published as Moomba Festival cancelled for first time in 66 years