In great news for live music lovers, the St Kilda Festival is returning in February in a new COVIDSafe format. Port Phillip Council, which produces the annual event, cancelled the 2021 St Kilda Festival last year due to COVID-19 concerns.
Council decided last night to forge ahead with its flagship event in 2022, subject to Victorian Government COVID-19 restrictions, after considering factors such as the vaccination roll-out.
Mayor Louise Crawford said while further details are being finalised, a modified Festival will proceed between 5-13 February across three high-profile St Kilda locations - Acland Street, Fitzroy Street and South Beach Reserve at the iconic foreshore.
“We are announcing the return now so Festival fans can save the dates in their 2022 calendars. We’re also delighted this much anticipated event will incorporate Yaluk-ut Weelam Ngargee, our annual First Peoples arts and cultural festival,” Cr Crawford said.
“The 2022 Festival will look a little different but we couldn’t be happier the show will go on. Our arts, entertainment and hospitality industries have been decimated – this is an investment in a community where many of its members are on their knees financially.
”It’s also a wonderful way to spearhead the summer rebirth of our City as a place where people can connect and enjoy themselves, whether it’s listening to performers or chatting over a coffee and meal.”
Renowned as one of Australia’s largest and longest running cultural events, the Festival brings significant economic benefits to St Kilda while celebrating and promoting Australian talent.
The Festival has seen many formats since its inception. Most recently, it was a one-day event, consistently attracting more than 400,000 visitors to the foreshore.
The event has only not proceeded twice since beginning in 1980. The funding for the cancelled 2021 event was redistributed to local COVID-19 social and economic recovery initiatives.
Organisers are working closely with the Victorian and Australian Governments as they plan the Festival’s safe return in 2022 and seek funding opportunities.
The decision to proceed follows Council’s recent announcement that it will offer up to $5000 a week until the end of 2021 to local live music venues and promoters who must cancel gigs due to lockdowns.
Council’s Live Music Action Plan also includes a Locals Playing Locals database of local musicians. The Council will pay the artist fees for eligible venues engaging musicians from the database until 31 December.
Applications will open when there is clarity on when live performances will be allowed.
A standard rate of $250 per musician will be available for each performance and Port Phillip artists are encouraged to register for the database.