Melbourne’s Moomba festival will go ahead after all following a backflip by the City of Melbourne just one day after it announced it would be cancelled.
Lord Mayor Sally Capp conceded it was a mistake to cancel the event, which has been running for the last 66 years.
“Melburnians want Moomba to proceed,” she said.
“We have been working closely overnight with the events industry and the Victorian Government to ensure we can deliver a reimagined Moomba 2.0.
“The circumstances of the past year have meant we were not able to host the traditional Moomba festival that the community has come to know and love.
“The decision to cancel Moomba was a mistake. We always planned to host events over the March long weekend but we have worked tirelessly overnight to ensure more events will be put on as part of Moomba 2.0.”
Capp said they were “working moment by moment” to reconfigure the scaled down version of the festival which will be spread out across the city with carnival rides in Alexandra Gardens and performances in Melbourne’s laneways, events at Docklands and concerts at the Myer Music Bowl. However, the annual Birman Rally, parade and water skiing will not be going ahead.
“We will be filling them up with pop-up music performances and street art exhibitions,” Capp said.
The u-turn came after discussions with Major Events Minister Martin Pakula on Thursday night after he described the earlier decision to cancel as “premature”.
“I’m sure that if you ask the businesses of the CBD and the area around the CBD, whether thousands [of people visiting the area] is better than none, I’m sure they’ll all say that thousands is better than none,” he said.