City invests in events-led recovery

MidSumma, a three-day Mexican celebration and a Kids Day Out are just a sample of the diverse range of events the City of Melbourne will sponsor in 2021 to help stimulate the local economy as COVID-19 restrictions ease.

​Lord Mayor Sally Capp said festivals and events would be a key element to Melbourne’s economic recovery and provide a much-needed boost to small businesses in the hospitality, retail and tourism sectors. 

“I expect Melburnians will be thrilled to start attending events when it’s safe to do so. These events are critical for our city to recover from the significant drop in foot traffic over the past six months during COVID-19 restrictions, that’s why we’re investing $2.6 million in events through our Event Partnership Program,” the Lord Mayor said. 
“Melbourne is Australia’s events capital and our city comes alive with cultural, food, arts and sports festivals and offerings throughout the year. You can often tell what month it is based on what festival is keeping Melburnians entertained and busy.
“COVID-19 has had a devastating impact on Melbourne’s events industry, with more than 120 City of Melbourne sponsored or permitted events cancelled or postponed indefinitely between March and July. 
“We’re supporting 63 events through cash sponsorships, in-kind support and by waiving fees. 
“This year we’ve made changes to how events can use their sponsorship support, so that our contribution can make up a greater proportion of the event’s overall funding. 
“Instead of requiring our contribution to be allocated to new programming, event organisers can use cash sponsorships to cover core operational event costs such as equipment hire, infrastructure and venue hire to help ease the financial burden of delivering events for our city.”
The City of Melbourne and the Victorian Government have each contributed $50 million to the Melbourne City Recovery Fund, which includes $30 million for COVID Safe events and cultural activities to attract visitors back to the central city.
Chair of the City of Melbourne’s Prosperous City portfolio, Councillor Kevin Louey said events supported by the Event Partnership Program previously attracted 3.45 million people to the city and delivered an economic impact of $618 million.
“Next year we are supporting an exciting array of events, from returning favourites such as the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival and Midsumma to new events such as the Melbourne International Student Festival and a Southbank Community Day,” Cr Louey said.  
“We are looking forward to welcoming people back into the city, and events delivered safely will be a key driver in achieving this.”
As stated by Victor Perez, director at Casablanca Events, host of the Arriba Melbourne Mexican Festival:
“Our festival is a celebration of rich Mexican and Latin American cultures with food stalls, parties, food, Day of the Dead costumes and puppets. With many overseas trips cancelled and postponed at the moment our cultural festivals are more important than ever to celebrate our international connections and identity. We are looking forward to bringing people together for our event in October 2021 to bring some hope and happiness back to Melburnians and to boost the mood of the city. We are planning to feature the traditional large-scale colourful Day of the Dead puppets in the festival next year to enrich the experience for people and our sponsorship from the City of Melbourne will help us achieve this.”
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