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The 2021 Mardi Gras parade will go ahead despite coronavirus restrictions

Sydney’s 2021 Mardi Gras will run in a revised format to comply with government rules.

We know it as a night of wild parties and raucous celebrations, but the 2021 Mardi Gras will look quite different under coronavirus restrictions. The Sydney Cricket Ground will play host to next year’s festival, where a socially distanced crowd of 46,000 will safely watch the celebrations.

The number of guests had previously been limited to half of the SCG’s total capacity, but last week’s easing of restrictions in NSW means the event will go ahead with a full stadium.

“Mardi Gras has always been the epitome of creative expression through art and culture; two things severely impacted by COVID-19 this year,” Mardi Gras CEO Albert Kruger said in a statement. “The 2021 Parade may look different to how it has been in the past, but we feel very lucky to be able to give this opportunity to our communities during these times.”

Shifting the format of the parade to an arena show comes with its challenges though: rather than the traditional convoy of floats, next year’s Mardi Gras will instead centre on the flamboyant costumes, puppetry and props that make it such a beloved spectacle.

Read: The best LGBTIQ+ events and festivals for 2021

The announcement of the new format comes as the organisation announces the findings of a community consultation process that will see events run throughout the year.

“Our surveying of the community has shown us that we can be so much more than a parade,” Kruger said. The organisation’s new vision, ‘Always On,’ will see events and initiatives run year-round to provide a platform for LGBTQI+ people to celebrate their diversity.

Mardi Gras is working with NSW Health on ways to run these events in a COVID-safe way.

Tickets for additional seating at the 2021 Mardi Gras Parade are on sale now.

Read: The safest countries to visit if you’re a LGBTQ+ traveller

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