Perth Festival reeling from sudden lockdown

The announcement on Sunday that Perth would go into a five-day lockdown has thrown the Perth Festival into crisis mode as it reschedules its opening shows, highlighting the difficulties all event organisers have in planning ahead.

The sudden call by WA Premier Mark McGowan forced the Perth Festival to reschedule its opening performances including Tim Minchin’s performance Apart/Together with the WA Symphony Orchestra.

The festival has also cancelled all events until February 6.

“If patrons hold a ticket for an event or performance during this time, they will be contacted as soon as possible,” the festival said in a statement. “This may take a few days longer than usual as we work through the issues.

“This is a pause for Perth festival, not a stop, and we look forward to being able to celebrate our community, our artists and our Western Australian stories in a safe and welcoming way once again.”

Festival executive director Nathan Bennett said they had contingency plans in place for such an occurrence.

“The important thing is that we get the art to the stage even if that’s at a later date,” he told WAtoday.

Ironically, Minchin had only recently come out of two weeks of quarantine after having travelled from Sydney for the event.

“Even if we could somehow just turn up & perform, the chances that 5K people will be allowed to gather this weekend are somewhere between Buckley’s & none,” Minchin tweeted.

“We are going to try to figure out how to reschedule! Stay tuned. And I’m incredibly sorry. Such a bugger.”

The adjacent Fringe World which kicked off two weeks ago has also been forced to cancel hundreds of shows staged across more than 150 venues.

Fringe World organiser Sharon Burgess told WAtoday said that they were hoping it will be “business as usual” from Friday.

“It’s been devastating but the whole year has been devastating and we were that beacon of hope, not only for the artists here in Western Australia but for the Fringe family globally,” she said.

“So it’s been absolutely devastating that this opportunity has come up and been taken away, albeit interrupted.

“And I am so proud that we dared to dream and we provided an amazing festival and hopefully we will finish it in the same colourful and delightful manner that we started.”