As one of the most centrally located open spaces in the city, Sydney’s Hyde Park has been a go-to staging point for major cultural events and pop-up venues for years, most notably the perennially popular Night Noodle Markets and Sydney Festival. However, the City of Sydney has announced its intention to ban large, multi-day events in Hyde Park from 2020, citing damage to the park’s lawns and the subsequent recovery time as the reason.
Sydney Festival has been granted permission to use parts of the park in its upcoming season in January, but beyond this, it will need to find a new home for its festival village and cabaret venues, which has traditionally been located adjacent to St Mary's Cathedral. The Night Noodle Markets, which have been held in Hyde Park for 16 years, negotiated a greatly reduced season in order to go ahead this year, shrinking from the usual 18 nights to just eight. Organisers will also returf the area when the markets pack up on October 18, but even with these new measures, the City of Sydney will no longer approve Hyde Park's use for future Night Noodle Markets.
Single-day events, such as the City2Surf startling line and the holding area for the Sydney Mardi Gras parade, will still be allowed under the new rules.
City of Sydney lord mayor Clover Moore has released a statement defended the decision. “As Australia’s oldest public parklands, the heritage-listed Hyde Park must be managed carefully and used in a sustainable way,” Moore said. "After the large crowds leave and the large infrastructure is taken away, we need to fence off and returf the grassland. This means large spaces of the park are off-limits for up to three months – it's a costly exercise that requires a lot of water, not something we should be doing in a drought. Every day in Hyde Park, workers use the grass as a space to enjoy the sun and eat lunch, and residents and visitors love to walk and play here at all times of day. When the grass is recovering, no one can enjoy the space.
I think it's clear the Night Noodle Markets has outgrown Hyde Park, but we'll continue working with them to find a more suitable location for the much-loved event."