Firelight Festival postponed again

Firelight Festival postponed again

By Brendan Rees

Docklands’ much-anticipated Firelight Festival, which was set to provide a welcome economic boost, became a COVID casualty for a second time in as many months.

Set to begin on July 21, the major event was postponed again after an outbreak of the virus and the state’s subsequent lockdown dashed any hope of the festival going ahead.

City of Melbourne Lord Mayor Sally Capp said they had made the difficult decision to postpone the event which would have generated $4 million and attracted more than 75,000 visitors to Docklands.

“The free tickets for Firelight were snapped up quickly, which shows how many people were looking forward to the Docklands event,” she said.

“We will update the community as soon as possible about the festival’s new dates and schedule. Events are critical to our economy and support many talented people from performers to production staff.”

“The City of Melbourne is committed to investing in events and activations that support the industry and encourage people back into the city when restrictions have eased.”

Rose Houndalas, who was excited to open her Greek Trojan Food truck at the festival, said she was devastated by the news.

“I was 100 per cent looking forward to it. We’ve done it three years in a row,” she told Docklands News.

“The City of Melbourne does an absolutely amazing job. It would’ve given us a very good boost.

“We rely on those festivals … it brings a lot of people together, all cultures, it’s something nice that we need. Unfortunately, times have changed, especially for us in the hospitality industry.”

Ms Houndalas said while she understood safety was a priority, the fifth lockdown had struck a blow with revenue dropping to 80 per cent of normal trade.

“Day-by-day, it’s a struggle. Health comes first, hopefully they can control this sooner than later,” she said.

Another food truck owner who runs Taco station, said “It is what is. It’s happening all around the world, there’s nothing really you can do about it”.

Arina Kruglyakova, head of sales and marketing at the Melbourne Star Observation Wheel, said the Firelight Festival was “such a fantastic and celebratory activation by City of Melbourne, and we love being part of it yearly.”

“While we are of course disappointed that it is not going ahead, we were looking forward to lighting up in our fiery light show and opening late to welcome all guests attending,” she said.

The family-friendly festival was originally due to be held in June but was postponed after the state’s fourth lockdown was announced.

The event was set to transform Docklands with flame jets, fire twirlers, music performances, food stalls and more.

New dates were yet to be confirmed before the August edition of Docklands News was published •

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