Broken Heel drag queen festival postponed for fourth time in two years

Ticket holders now have to hold out for this September's event. (ABC Open: Jenia Ratcliffe)

The Broken Heel Festival has been postponed for the fourth time in two years due to the continual disruption of COVID-19. 

In a statement, organisers said the impact of Omicron across staffing levels, artists, suppliers and guests made the March event unfeasible to be delivered to the expectations of patrons and event planners.

Festival director Esther La Rovere said the team made the decision as early as possible to avoid looming payment and deposit deadlines.

"This is the time where we need to get all our deposits paid for production hiring and artist fees, so it's a call that we had to make now rather than hold off to see how everything progresses," she said.

The March festival was scheduled as a rebound event from the cancelled date in 2020 and two postponements last year due to restrictions implemented on large-scale events.

Esther La Rovere says the team made the decision early to avoid payment deadlines. (ABC Broken Hill: Callum Marshall)

Staffing shortages a 'logistical nightmare'

Ms La Rovere said while the decision was prompted predominantly by payment deadlines, the risk of staffing or artist shortages if they fell sick was a logistical nightmare.

"We can't really tell how many staff members or artists are going to be taken out with this sweep of Omicron," she said.

The Palace Hotel in Broken Hill hosts the drag event and is partly owned and operated by Ms La Rovere.

She said she hoped local traders were not too disheartened by the cancellation.

"I'm sure it is going to have a dent in Argent Street traders and all the suppliers in town that were getting ready with us to help deliver the event," she said.

"It's definitely going to be a reduction in cash flow that people may have been hoping would get injected into the local economy.

"To put ourselves into a potentially cash-negative situation is just really not something that we can put ourselves in after coming out of what's been a very lack of trade over the last two years."

Event organisers are hopeful the September event will make up for lost time. (ABC: Aimee Volkofsky)

Optimism for September event

The 2022 Broken Heel Festival is scheduled to take place from September 8 to 12.

"Over these changes, we have constantly received positive messages from people who are looking forward to the light at the end of the tunnel, which hopefully our September event can deliver," Ms La Rovere said.

All tickets will be transferred over to the September event.

Ticket holders have until February 10 to apply for a full refund on the Broken Heel Festival website if they are unable to attend in September.


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