The annual Knox Festival will not proceed in 2021, due to continued restrictions and challenges facing large public events as a result of COVID-19.
Knox City Council determined that for the safety and wellbeing of the community, holding a free-roaming event like Knox Festival, where social distancing and COVID safe practices cannot be ensured, would not be responsible at this time.
Knox City Council Mayor, Cr Lisa Cooper said a series of smaller pop up events will instead replace the popular event to provide opportunities for the community to still come together safely.
“I like many in the community am disappointed there will be no Knox Festival this year,” said Cr Cooper.
“The Festival is our largest annual event and to rethink it in the context of COVID-19 restrictions would not do justice to the aspects people love most.
“While disappointing, this is the most sensible decision to protect our community and preserve the integrity of Knox Festival until its return.”
The format of Knox Festival, which typically attracts around 25,000 people over two days, does not meet current Victorian Government COVIDSafe Event compliance regulations and would require a significant overhaul in order to downsize.
This would have ramifications for the many community organisations, stallholders and vendors who attend and exhibit at the Festival each year, likely placing severe restrictions on the activities allowed.
While future large-scale events such as Stringybark Festival will be assessed in the coming months, a series of Pop Up Events throughout the year will allow the community to come together for entertainment and family fun.
Cr Cooper said these smaller-scale, seated and ticketed events provide opportunities for Council to be innovative in how it approaches public events.
“By designing events that more readily meet public event regulations, we can create opportunities for a diverse array of performances, activities, workshops and other experiences,” said Cr Cooper.
“I am excited to share these events with the community and enjoy the talents and entertainment Knox has to offer in a different format.”
The first Pop Up Events include a Drive In Cinema featuring the movie Red Dog on 20 February at Knox Community Arts Centre; and ‘Harmony at Sunset,’ a twilight concert to be held at Wally Tew Reserve on Saturday 13 March celebrating diversity, inclusion and community life in Knox.