Victoria’s lockdown causes chaos for SA festival organisers

Organisers of the Adelaide Festival and Fringe festival are having to work through the implications of yet another snap border closure after Victorian Premier Dan Andrews called an abrupt five-day lockdown last week to counter a cluster stemming from a quarantine hotel.

The two festivals are scrambling to reschedule shows with some performers and event organisers currently stuck in Victoria.

Just a week ago, organisers of the Perth Festival were in the same position after the McGowan government ordered a five day lockdown, highlighting the challenges all event organisers face in the current climate of uncertainty.

Speaking to ABC Radio, Adelaide Festival executive director Elaine Chia said it was “disappointing”.

“It’s obviously disappointing for us and it has an immediate impact, not just for the artists but for our audiences,” she said.

“Our interstate audiences make up a significant portion, we’re literally talking thousands of tickets and hundreds of thousands of dollars of ticket sales that are at risk now.”

The Adelaide Fringe begins on February 19 and the Adelaide Festival on February 25, with Chia saying they will work closely with the SA Government “to do what we can to put on the best festival we can”.

Adelaide Festival executive director Elaine Chia.

Fringe Festival Director Heather Croall said there had been a small window for some people to get across the border before it closed.

“A lot of artists did get on the plane, but others, they couldn’t,” she said.

Unfortunately, the organiser of the Garden of Unearthly Delights, Michelle Buxton, was not one of those fortunate enough to make it over.

“I’m in a bit of a pickle, I tried to get a flight last night, but of course, you could not get a flight,” Buxton told the ABC.

“I’m just going to see how it rolls out and I will get there as quickly as I can.”

Buxton said they might have to postpone some of the shows due to the the 14-day quarantine.

“We’re working with the Fringe, with SA Health, our impacted artists and producers about how to move forward,” she said.