THE show will not go on for Fringe Mount Gambier this year following an 11th-hour cancellation as a result of regulations and concerns surrounding the COVID-19 virus.
The much-anticipated festival – scheduled for March 20-28 – will not proceed with constantly evolving health crisis and new government-enforced public gathering regulations ultimately spelling the end for the annual arts spectacular.
Expected to be the Blue Lake city’s biggest Fringe festival to date, Tuesday night’s announcement followed the earlier cancellations of the Fringe Lift Off street party and Fringeland showcase.
Fringe Mount Gambier artistic program manager Louise Adams said due to the evolving health situation, the committee felt the decision was in the best interest of both the public, Fringe crew and performers.
“It is so difficult to break this news, especially seeing as though we were so close to presenting such a massive and exciting program,” Ms Adams said.
“Nobody could have anticipated anything like this would have happened and we believe everyone is doing so well across the board.”
Ms Adams said the ticketed events were critical to the festival program.
“For many artists this was going to be their first Fringe Festival and there are so many people who travel just for the festival,” she said.
“Some artists have been working on their events for months and it is devastating to have this happen.”
Despite the news, Ms Adams said the committee was already setting its sight on 2021.
“The 2021 Mount Gambier Fringe Festival will come back with a vengeance,” Ms Adams said.
“The whole team behind Fringe were so excited to bring this event to its audiences and watch these amazing artists really shine in what they do.
“We will miss seeing the joy on the audiences faces this year but are already moving towards next year’s event.”
Despite the festival’s cancellation, Ms Adams encouraged the community to back the tourism and entertainment sector where possible.
“Arts are so important in our community and particularly when we are going through difficult situations,” she said.
“There is no doubt this is a difficult time across the world but we here at the Fringe committee have faith in the arts within the region.”