Portarlington Mussel Festival cancelled for second straight year

September 29, 2021 BY
The one-day event has accommodated for as many as 30,000 people in previous years. Photo: SUPPLIED

The one-day event has accommodated for as many as 30,000 people in previous years. Photo: SUPPLIED

AN EVENT that attracts tens of thousands of residents from all over the region has been cancelled for a second consecutive year.

Organisers of the Portarlington Mussel Festival announced last Monday that the popular event would be cancelled for a second-straight year due the current situation regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We have not taken this decision lightly, but after considerable discussions taking into account the current positions of both state and federal governments, the health and wellbeing of our community and festival visitors must be our priority,” said organisers in a public statement made on the event’s Facebook page.

“The virus is unpredictable and with rules and regulations constantly changing we feel it is appropriate to have made a decision now rather than being forced to do so closer to our event.”

The event, which was set to take place next January, invites people from all over to celebrate and embrace the area’s mussel industry, listen to live music all day long and exhibits hundreds of market stalls.

The festival has become known as one of the most popular community festivals in all of Victoria.

“We laboured over this decision for two months,” said president of the festival Richard Underwood.

“We took into account where COVID was and if we could manage it, but the Mussel Festival can’t happen without our volunteers.

“We need about 350 volunteers and so for us, utmost was the health and safety of those volunteers, and we weren’t confident we could ensure their safety in such a large crowd.

“We did a survey on all of our volunteers from the previous festival and just over 50 per cent of them said they would volunteer.”

Volunteers have made the event possible since it began in 2007 and are also responsible for more than $230,000 being directed into community initiatives to date.

The festival’s committee had explored various methods to overcome any concerns such as a ticketing system that required those who were attending to check-in and check-out and possibly pushing the event back a couple of months.

But ensuring confidence in the volunteers was the primary factor for Mr Underwood and his team’s decision.

To view the full statement made by the Portarlington Mussel Festival committee, head to the event’s Facebook page.

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