WA Circus Festival postponed in wake of COVID-19

Lights out for 2021: The WA Circus Festival - held each year in Karridale - has been cancelled under the weight of the COVID-19 global pandemic. Photo: Lunar Circus
Lights out for 2021: The WA Circus Festival - held each year in Karridale - has been cancelled under the weight of the COVID-19 global pandemic. Photo: Lunar Circus

Organisers of Karridale's long running WA Circus Festival have said that a heartbreaking decision to cancel the 2021 event is part of a long-term vision to protect the festival for years to come.

"With the heaviest heart we have made the decision that we are going to have to cancel Karnidale both the festival and training in January 2021," said Lunar Circus' Louise Moss.

"We hoped with every ounce of our bodies that we could make it happen but as the event looms closer, the world is still not as normal as we hope it might be and the risks for us as an independent self funded event are just too massive."

Ms Moss said Lunar Circus ran the risk of leaving the festival "broken" if they proceeded and had to cancel performances at the last minute.

"We would be unlikely to recover, whereas we are hoping if we regroup and wait we can continue and make 2022 just the best ever."

As they do each year, Lunar Circus opened training applications for the 2021 season in July 2020 in the hope that the pandemic fallout would have lessened.

"How wrong we were," Ms Moss said.

Matt Yates of Lunar Circus would usually be crossing Europe and the UK but has had to cancel 80 shows.

Matt Yates of Lunar Circus would usually be crossing Europe and the UK but has had to cancel 80 shows.

"We are so sorry that we will let down so many performers who have had such a bad year already and also the many participants who have already signed up for training and the many people who are looking forward to the festival.

"But by taking this action we feel we are protecting the long term future of the festival and we want it to continue for many many years to come."

Usually touring Europe and the UK during the winter months, Lunar Circus - led by well known local performer 'Fat' Matt Yates - has been forced to cancel 80 shows, while at home hiring of the Big Top tents have been cancelled.

Ms Moss urged locals and those who travel to circus festival HQ 'Karnidale' to take part in the summer school program, as well as for the festival weekend itself, to show their support by returning next year.

"If you wish to just keep your booking and carry it on until next year we will honour your place, and transfer it to next year at the same price - you will already be booked in and sorted for 2022," she said.

"Refunds for those that have signed up for the festival will be available, but unfortunately our booking agent has said they will not refund their fees so there will be a small booking fee that comes out."

Ms Moss said the impacts of worldwide travel restrictions would hit other festivals across summer.

"Many of our performers come to Karnidale to train during the International Training project and then performer the festival weekend before going onto Perth Fringe," she said.

"As we traditionally bring over international performers from all over the world to teach and perform this can obviously not happen this year. These performers would normally go onto to perform at Perth and Adelaide so this year will be very different for fringe and be possibly only WA performers with maybe a few national shows."

This story WA Circus Festival postponed in wake of COVID-19 first appeared on Augusta-Margaret River Mail.