Midsumma is one of Australia’s premier LGBTQIA+ arts and cultural organisation, bringing together a diverse mix of queer artists, performers, communities and audiences, and understands profoundly, that the circumstances surrounding COVID-19 has created an extremely tough environment for festivals and events, nationally and internationally.
The Roadmap to ‘COVID Normal’ released on 13 September by the Victorian Government, made clear that gatherings of scale were unlikely to be approved in time for Midsumma Festival to operate at the usual time of January to February.
This information has guided Midsumma to enact their “understudy-plan” to move Midsumma’s 2021 festival dates to fall between 19 April and 5 May 2021; with Midsumma Pride March planned to follow a few weeks later (dates to be announced).
Midsumma takes pride in delivering a premier festival each year – moving the festival dates to later in the year puts staff, artists, producers and venues in the best possible position to deliver an accessible festival that connects our communities and celebrates queer arts and cultures.
“In these uncertain times, we are committed to Midsumma providing the very best opportunities and support throughout 2021 for all our diverse communities to have their creative voices heard, their stories shared, and to connect and celebrate queer art and culture together in meaningful ways,” said Karen Bryant, Midsumma CEO.
“The safety of our Midsumma artists, producers, venues, audiences and LGBTQIA+ stakeholders are our first priority, and we want to make sure that our communities can experience Midsumma Festival 2021 as safely, and in the most fulfilling ways possible, while ensuring we can all meet the COVID requirements that may be in place at that time.”
Midsumma is aware that there are still challenges for our arts community and understand that the next few months will continue to be uncertain and unpredictable for artists, producers and collectives.
To help relieve some financial challenges for artists and producers who want to be a part of Midsumma Festival 2021, Midsumma is offering bursaries to the first 100 registrations, this will provide 50% off the registration fee. Open-access event registrations will now close on 14 December 2020.
Midsumma is also working with digital industry professionals to investigate a virtual augmentation for the festival, including quality live streaming of selected events to ensure that the 2021 Festival is as accessible as possible for any audiences that may be vulnerable, or interstate, who still want to feel the important connection that Midsumma brings.
Each event will be produced with the guidance of our COVID safety plan, and in the best interest of our audiences, artists and venues who are the heart of Midsumma Festival each year.
The 2021 Midsumma Festival will take place 19 April to 5 May. The festival will be launched in March 2021. For more information, visit: www.midsumma.org.au for details.
Image: Midsumma Pride March 2019 – photo by Suzanne Balding