The Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras has today announced that in 2022 the famous Mardi Gras Parade will not be returning to its traditional route of more than 40 years down Oxford Street, and will again take place as a controlled event at the Sydney Cricket Ground. A press release from the Sydney Mardi Gras states:
“Organisers have decided that returning to Sydney Cricket Ground in 2022 provides the best chance for the Parade to proceed, no matter what the Covid situation determines early next year. Unlike operating a traditional Mardi Gras Parade on Oxford Street – which attracts around 250,000 spectators – the SCG allows room to scale the Parade up or down to ensure it takes place in the case that Sydney does experience further restrictions.”
“Our priority with planning for next year’s Parade was ensuring we can once again deliver a safe event,” said Mardi Gras CEO Albert Kruger.
“There’s still uncertainty of what March is going to look like for us. Mardi Gras can’t guarantee that in the next few months things will be back to normal and we can safely have hundreds of thousands of spectators on the streets.”
In 2021, activist group Pride in Protest was successful in securing a permit to stage a counter-protest to the official SCG Parade, with one of their main objections to the official event being the police presence in the parade. It is expected that the counter-event will occur again.
The SCG news follows the announcement that American Express has commenced an exclusive three-year principal partnership with the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras and Sydney WorldPride 2023. A press release announcing this partnership said:
“The partnership between American Express, the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras and Sydney WorldPride...reveals a shared commitment to reinvigorate local businesses that have suffered through the hardships of the Covid-19 crisis – including Queer spaces that have been under pressure.”
The Mardi Gras Festival will return next year from February 18 to March 6, and as usual the festival will culminate in the parade, which will be broadcast live, and various after parties around the city. Next year’s theme has also been announced: United We Shine.
Tickets for the 2022 Parade go on sale from November 15. You can join the waitlist at mardigras.org.au to receive notifications when tickets go on sale. Last year was the first time it was a requirement to purchase tickets to attend the parade, in an effort to control crowds and run a Covid-Safe event. However like this year, there will be a hardship ballot with 3,000 free Parade tickets to support those who are experiencing financial strain and cannot afford a ticket. Applications for the hardship ballot open on November 15. 78ers and Mardi Gras members will also receive two complimentary tickets to the event.