2021 Royal Queensland Show cancelled
Just days after it was announced that the Royal Melbourne Show has been cancelled, the 2021 Royal Queensland Show – known locally as the “Ekka” – has also been cancelled. This is due to the current South East Queensland lockdown and worsening local COVID outbreak. It’s the second year in a row that the Ekka has been cancelled due to COVID.
The 2021 show was due to open to the public this Saturday. This will be only the fourth time in the Ekka’s proud 145-year history that the show has been cancelled.
A heartbreaking choice
Royal National Agricultural and Industrial Association of Queensland (RNA) Chief Executive Brendan Christou says that ensuring the health and safety of the Ekka community and the general public is paramount. He also says the RNA is fully supportive of the Queensland government’s decision to cancel the show.
“It’s devastating to have to cancel this year’s comeback Ekka,” he says. “But the current outbreak of COVID-19 means we cannot bring the country and city together safely.
“It’s particularly heartbreaking to have to cancel so close to our opening day because of the massive effort our Ekka community has put into preparing for this year’s show. Thousands of exhibitors have spent months preparing their entries for competition. They’ll be extremely disappointed they can’t showcase their efforts at the 2021 show.”
Another financial blow
News of the cancellation will be especially tough for the Queensland farming community, which has been eagerly awaiting this year’s show as a celebration of all things agriculture. The Ekka doesn’t just reward the best of the best. It also provides much-needed respite and highlights the many challenges that farmers face, such as drought and flood.
“Our hearts also go out to the hundreds of businesses whose livelihoods rely on events like the Ekka,” Christou says. “The ride operators, the food vendors and the many small businesses who showcase their products at Queensland’s largest marketplace. They are facing another financial blow in the wake of the show’s cancellation.”
The last-minute cancellation also has broad-ranging financial implications for the RNA. The not-for-profit organisation relies on the Ekka to provide a major part of its revenue.
“Despite the disappointment the cancellation brings, the RNA will always act in the best interests of public health to protect exhibitors and the community,” Christou says.
Working through the details
The RNA will now endeavour to see if some of the 2021 Royal Queensland Show competitions can continue over these next two weeks in a COVID-safe environment without the general public. Christou says the RNA will also be working with Queensland Health on a de-mobilisation plan to help exhibitors with bumping out during lockdown.
“We’ll be working through a number of options in the next 24 to 48 hours,” he says. “We will then provide updates to our exhibitors and competitors.”
The RNA will be issuing full refunds to all ticketholders. For more information and updates as they occur, head to ekka.com.au