Decisions have been made to not proceed with three major events in the Illawarra and Shoalhaven due to the present uncertainty surrounding COVID-19.
The Illawarra Folk Club, who run the Illawarra Folk Festival at Bulli Showground, have canceled the next festival which was to be held from January 14 to 17, 2021.
Illawarra Folk Festival artistic directorDavid De Santi said the folk club is hugely disappointed but the risk of outlaying of hundreds of thousands of dollars and the potential health issues for our volunteers, artists, stallholders, suppliers and patrons meant it was not prudent to proceed.
The 2020 Folk By The Sea Festival at Kiama in September has also been called off.
And a decision was made on Wednesday to postpone the second annual South Coast Food and Wine Festival for 12 months.
Earlier this year event organisers Sam and Sonia Tooley decided to proceed with a second annual South Coast Food and Wine Festival but push the date back from September to October 2020 and hold it in Huskisson. But now the event won't happen until October 2021.
The first festival at Berry in 2019 was so successful the couple wanted to make it an annual event but the COVID-19 lockdown in March prompted a review of the safest way to proceed.
They not only moved the date back a month but changed the way the festival would be run by introducing new social distancing measures. The decision was to hold the festival in three sessions over two days on October 16 and 17 with a number limit for each session at White Sands Park, Huskisson.
Ticket sales were strong but with growing numbers of COVID-19 cases in Victoria and NSW in the last fortnight Mr Tooley sought more advice from NSW Health who did not recommend they proceed.
"They told me they would now not approve of an event of the scope and scale of what we do," Mr Tooley said.
"They said even with all the new social distancing measures in place it would be far too risky".
"We are offering a free transfer to next year or people can have their money back with a full refund".
Mr Tooley said tickets will automatically be transferred to the 2021 dates (October 16 and 17) in the same session that was purchased for 2020 so unless people wanted a refund they don't need to do anything.
Full refund can by done via Eventbrite by logging into www.eventbrite.com.au, putting in your details and making the request. The refund option will be available until August 12. After that date all tickets will be transferred to the 2021 event.
Mr Tooley said the festival was something he and his wife had spent considerable time organising and they were emotionally attached to the event.
But postponing the festival 12 months was the correct decision at this time.
Mr Tooley second the recent spread of COVID-19 in Victoria and NSW meant it was no longer safe to proceed and postponing the event for 12 months was the responsible thing to do.
He said they hope people will understand the decision that was made because of circumstances beyond their control.
"We are disappointed we won't be able to deliver the Festival as planned this year, but the health and safety of our producers, ticketholders and South Coast communities is of the upmost importance to us," Mr Tooley said.