The Royal Adelaide Show has been cancelled just weeks out from opening, marking the second year in a row Adelaide’s largest event has been called off during the pandemic.
Premier Steven Marshall said he understood that “there’ll be so many people that are disappointed”.
“We’re in a difficult situation right around the country at the moment (and) these mass events are extraordinarily difficult,” he said.
“I know that the Show Society has looked at every single opportunity to work with SA Health to create a way that this could go ahead, but unfortunately, this year, it won’t be.
“Crowd numbers are one issue, but also many of the attractions — the rides — come in from interstate.
“We’ve got really difficult border restrictions, right around the country really at the moment, and that was just not going to facilitate it for this year.”
Organisers the Royal Agricultural and Horticultural Society of SA said that the event was not viable with the “significantly limited” number of people permitted to attend mass gatherings. The event was capped at no more than 10,000 people each day, significantly less than the 50,000 people per day it normally attracts.
“SA Health advised that a daily cap on attendance to the Royal Show would be less than 10,000 people,” the organisers stated.
“As you would appreciate, this figure is not feasible therefore the 2021 Royal Show cannot proceed.”
Ticket holders would be refunded while commercial exhibitors will be contacted directly to work through arrangements.
“As you can appreciate, unravelling Show preparations this close to the scheduled opening of the event is a significant undertaking,” the organisers said.
“The RA&HS cordially asks that all involved in the Show be patient whilst the Society administration methodically works this through.”
The latest cancellation follows similar decisions interstate with the Royal Melbourne Show and the Queensland EKKA also called off.
Over the border in regional NSW, the 2021 Deniliquin Ute muster has cancelled over concerns about the growing outbreak in Sydney and related border closures. Scheduled for the October long weekend, it is also the second year in a row that event has been called off.
About 20,000 people from across Australia normally attend the ute muster, with general manager Vicky Lowry saying they have begun planning for the 2022 event.
“We held off as long as we could but with what’s happening with every state and border restrictions it had to happen,” Lowry said.
“We can see the light at the end of the tunnel with vaccines out there so from next week we’ll be planning again.
“For this to happen in the future, we encourage everyone to get vaccinated so that lockdowns and travel restrictions become a thing of the past.”
In Victoria, gaming event PAX Australia 2021 has also cancelled for a second year.
Scheduled for October, the organisers said the decision was made “with a heavy heart”.
“At the start of the year, we were optimistic that we’d all be able to come together in person this October,” the organisers said in statement.
“We’ve been working hard with our partners and exhibitors to deliver the best possible version of PAX Aus 2021, but due to the ongoing impact of COVID-19 in Australia, the next edition of PAX Aus will now take place in 2022.”
“Much like last year we will still be working to bring our community together this year via PAX Aus Online.”