Sydney Mardi Gras parade returns to SCG to ensure it can go ahead

The Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade will return to the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) for a second year with fears over Covid keeping the parade away from its traditional route on Oxford Street.

To be held on March 5, the Parade is the centerpiece of the Mardi Gras season which runs from 18 February – 6 March.

The traditional Mardi Gras Parade on Oxford Street usually attracts around 250,000 spectators, but organisers said the SCG allows room to scale the Parade up or down to ensure it takes place in the case that Sydney does experience further restrictions.

“Our priority with planning for next year’s Parade was ensuring we can once again deliver a safe event,” said Mardi Gras CEO Albert Kruger.

“There’s still uncertainty of what March is going to look like for us. Mardi Gras can’t guarantee that in the next few months things will be back to normal and we can safely have hundreds of thousands spectators on the streets.

“The Parade is too important to the community to risk having to cancel. So right now, when decisions need to be made, the SCG is the best option for us to guarantee that we can come together to keep the spirit of Mardi Gras’ history of protest and celebration shining bright in 2022.

“What we do know is that we can stage an incredible and safe Parade in the SCG.”

The Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras plans to bring the Parade back to Oxford Street for its 45th anniversary in 2023.

Lord Mayor Clover Moore said she supported the decision to adapt to the ongoing challenges presented by Covid over the past 18 months.

“Mardi Gras’ decision to return to the Sydney Cricket Ground for the 2022 Mardi Gras Parade is prudent given the uncertainty posed by the pandemic, which we will continue to face for some time yet,” she said.

“I am sure that the 2022 event will build on the success of this year’s spectacular parade. And I look forward to it being a successful curtain-raiser to WorldPride in 2023, when I hope we can all return to celebrate on Oxford Street with Sydneysiders and visitors from around Australia and the world.”