The 2021 Merimbula Jazz Festival has been postponed until 2022 following discussion by the committee concerning COVID risk factors.
Festival chairman Kevin Walsh said that after much discussion, the Merimbula Jazz Festival Committee has resolved to postpone what would have been the 40th festival for another 12 months.
"While we had confidence that we could program a very successful 40th Jazz Festival in 2021, the reality is that uncertainties remain - which makes planning the festival problematic," Mr Walsh said.
"The committee has specifically carried out a risk assessment of the possibility of lockdowns, or other restrictions being imposed at short notice, as well as the progress of the vaccine roll-out. Any restrictions imposed at short notice late in the planning process would have a serious financial impact, and that could affect future festivals," he said.
"Trying to plan around and mitigate the impacts of the different scenarios is almost impossible for a festival that relies on its musicians and audience who come (mainly) from Victoria, NSW and the ACT," Mr Walsh said.
COVID restrictions meant that many signature events such as the festival parade, street fest, the new lantern parade, ecumenical service and Jazz Quest, the talent quest popular with under 25s, were going to be difficult, if not impossible to run along with the trad jazz sessions at Twyford Hall.
The committee had looked at various reduced formats, but ultimately felt it was not fair to either musicians or jazz lovers.
"This has been a difficult decision, but we want the Jazz Festival to continue, to thrive and be in good shape for the 40th and beyond," Mr Walsh said.
"We are now diverting our attention to planning for a big 40th Merimbula Jazz Festival in 2022, when we look forward to seeing our jazz friends return to Merimbula to enjoy the best of jazz and everything the town has to offer."
Mr Walsh also said that the committee would welcome anyone interested in helping out with the festival to join existing members. Please contact Kevin Walsh on 0418 370 714 for more information.