The controversial Dragon Dreaming Festival, scheduled to run at Wee Jasper next month, has been postponed because of the COVID-19 virus.
The festival will now be held in April next year, disappointing the thousands of fans who had already bought tickets to the sold-out event.
But a spokesman for Dragon Dreaming said COVID-19, lockdowns and border closures had given organisers little choice but to postpone the event.
“The decision to postpone until April 1 next year was not taken lightly,” he said.
“But after deep discussions with both contractors and government authorities we did not want to put extra pressure on the already over-stretched frontline workers we need to contract to safely deliver the event.
“We also chose to tread carefully with the risk of exposure caused by the mass influx of participants from around the country to our amazing regional hosts at Wee Jasper in the Yass Valley,” he said.
The site near the Goodradigbee River is about one hour’s drive from Yass and just over two hours from Canberra.
The decision to postpone may come as some relief for district firefighters who have consistently expressed concern about such an event being held in a rural area with only one narrow road providing access to the site.
Postponing it to April 2022 will mean it is no longer in the district’s most dangerous bushfire period.
“We have a high level of confidence in the decision we have made to postpone to 1 to 4 April 2022, the end of the fire season, to deliver the safest, most sustainable and adventurous event to date,” the spokesman said.
He said although the festival was usually held during bushfire season and would be again from 2023 onwards, all precautions had been taken to make it safe for patrons as well as local authorities.
“The festival site at Wee Jasper is a cleared area sitting low on the banks of a large permanent water body, stepping up the hill towards the majestic bushland on the upper hillsides away from the festival.
“In 2020, Dragon Dreaming Festival contracted a bushland management plan that defined that the site is fit for use as an entertainment precinct and the local RFS had no specific objections to the previous dates or the future planned postponement date of 1 to 4 April, 2022.”
There’s some good news for those people who missed out on tickets for the sold-out event. Although no new tickets will be released for the April event, more tickets will be made available on the Dragon Dreaming website – tickets refunded because some people can’t make the April event next year.
“This will come as a happy surprise for those who have been reaching out for tickets over the past few months since selling out,” the spokesman said.
He said the plan to invite 2021 attendees to take part in a Regrowth Festival as part of the October Dragon Dreaming event, would also be held over until the April event.
“This is a ‘leave a positive trace’ festival that we can all be part of which involves adding to the native plants already planted at collaborative festivals.”
Those attending will be invited to donate an extra $5 when they purchase tickets to buy a native tree.
People with tickets to the postponed event and who can attend the April date can just hold on to their tickets as they will be transferred to the new date.
For those who missed out on tickets for the sold out event, more tickets will go on sale on the Dragon Dreaming website from today (September 4).