2021 Cessnock Stomp Festival cancelled

The 2021 Cessnock Stomp Festival has been cancelled for the second year running, due to the current COVID outbreak in New South Wales.

The food and wine festival was set down for October 24, having been postponed from its original date in April this year.

It was also cancelled in 2020, when the first round of crowd bans were introduced just three weeks before the festival was to go ahead.

Cessnock Business Chamber president Allan Davies said the organising committee was "extremely disappointed" to cancel the festival, but it would not be viable to hold the event under current restrictions.

Stomp is a free community event, spanning a 600-metre section of Vincent Street, and has drawn crowds of up to 17,000 in the past.

Under the current Public Health Order, outdoor controlled events in regional NSW must be ticketed, seated and fenced, with a crowd capacity of 10,000.

With no clear answer on how things will look by October, Mr Davies said the chamber made the call to cancel the festival now, rather than wait it out and risk having to call it off with short notice.

"As Stomp takes well over a thousand hours of planning, arranging traffic management, hiring of equipment as well as financial commitments from sponsors and stall holders, it's too big an event to call off with only a couple of weeks notice," Mr Davies said.

"Yes, it is a bit of a guessing game at this stage but the chamber couldn't financially withstand the impact of a late cancellation fees, upfront payments for road management, etc, that wouldn't be refunded."

BIG CROWD: The inaugural Stomp festival in 2016. Picture: Krystal Sellars

BIG CROWD: The inaugural Stomp festival in 2016. Picture: Krystal Sellars

First held in 2016, the Stomp festival has injected about $3 million into the local economy each year.

Mr Davies said the festival's key "deliverables" were to provide an event that not only supports local businesses and the local community, but also drives tourism dollars into our economy.

"Financial modelling suggests that a restricted, cut down version of Stomp wouldn't achieve those goals," he said.

Mr Davies said the chamber is looking at holding some smaller events while starting to plan for Stomp 2022.

"Although the current restrictions prevent Stomp from proceeding, the chamber is investigating how we can hold smaller community events over the coming months that will bring locals and local businesses together, as well as offering some community entertainment so desperately needed while we struggle with these latest pandemic restrictions and resulting economic downturn," he said.

"And while 2021 is cancelled, work will start on bringing back Stomp in 2022 bigger, better and a great event for all ages."

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