Ban on large events in Sydney’s Hyde Park leaves organisers looking for new venues

The City of Sydney council is banning large, multi-day events at Hyde Park from next year forcing the organisers of two of Sydney’s biggest events to scramble to find new venues.

The Sydney Festival and Night Noodle Markets will need to find a new venue beyond 2020, although the festival can still use the park for some events in January. The Night Noodle Markets have been held at Hyde Park for 16 years and attracted 400,000 people to the free event each year.

City of Sydney lord mayor Clover Moore said the ban was to ensure Hyde Park will be readily available to the public all-year round.

“Parks should be available for all people to access and enjoy, so we’re working to ensure that major events and festivals do not take these spaces out of public use for so long,” she told The Sydney Morning Herald.

“As Australia’s oldest public parkland, the heritage-listed Hyde Park must be managed carefully and used in a sustainable way.

“The city is now working with organisers of multi-day events previously located within Hyde Park, including the Night Noodle Markets, to find another home in one of the city’s many alternative spaces or venues.”

The council said damage can be caused by heavy foot traffic and large scale infrastructure while returfing in some areas can take up to three months.

“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,” Moore said.

Venessa Cowell, Nine’s head of food events, which organises the Night Noodle Markets, said they would have loved to keep Hyde Park as their home.

“However, rest assured we will find an amazing new home for the event next year,” she told The Sydney Morning Herald.

“It’s such an important event which supports the night-time economy and we’re big advocates for keeping Sydney’s night life alive.”

A spokesperson for the Sydney Festival said “programming beyond 2020 is in progress and as always there are many options under consideration in terms of program and precincts.”

The Night Noodle Markets are open for one last time at Hyde Park tomorrow.