The 2020 Melbourne International Comedy Festival Has Been Cancelled
It's the latest event to be cancelled due to Australia's mass gatherings ban.
Classified as a pandemic by the World Health Organisation (WHO) earlier this week, COVID-19 is clearly no laughing matter. And with the Australian Government announcing a ban on non-essential events and mass gatherings of more than 500 people from Monday, March 16 in an effort to reduce the coronavirus' spread across Australia, there'll be no giggling or guffawing at this year's now-cancelled Melbourne International Comedy Festival.
"With great sadness we must announce that following the Prime Minister's statement about non-essential mass gatherings, the 2020 Melbourne International Comedy Festival will not go ahead," MICF organisers revealed in a statement. "Cancelling the Festival is heartbreaking but the only decision possible to support the community's efforts to slow the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19)."
This year's festival was due to kick off on Wednesday, March 25, running through until Sunday, April 19 — with the likes of Mark Watson, Jason Byrne, the Lucas Brothers, Anne Edmonds, Adam Hills, Becky Lucas and Zoe Coombs Marr on the bill.
MICF is considered one of the largest three comedy festivals in the world, alongside Edinburgh Festival Fringe and Montreal's Just for Laughs Festival. First kicking off in 1977, it attracts more than 770,000 comedy-loving punters each year.
Ticket holders will receive refunds, and will be notified about the next steps in the coming days.
The Melbourne International Comedy Festival joins a growing list of cancelled events and closed venues, with large swathes of cinemas shutting in China, Iran, South Korea, Japan and across Europe, and theme parks doing the same in Asia, Europe and the US. We've also seen the cancellation of Texan music and film festival South by Southwest and postponement of Coachella. More locally, Tasmania's Dark Mofo, the Grand Prix in Melbourne and the Sydney Royal Easter Show have all been cancelled.
The 2020 Melbourne International Comedy Festival will no longer take place from Wednesday, March 25–Sunday, April 19. For more information, visit the festival's website.
To find out more about the status of COVID-19 in Australia and how to protect yourself, head to the Australian Government Department of Health's website.
Published on March 14, 2020 by Sarah Ward