One of the three largest annual celebrations of comedy in the world isn’t happening this year due to the global coronavirus pandemic.
The folks Down Under at the Melbourne Comedy Festival in Australia just pulled the plug on the 2020 edition, which was set to begin March 25 and run through April 19.
Melbourne, along with Edinburgh Festival Fringe in Scotland each August and Montreal’s Just For Laughs each July, are the big three comedy festivals of the year for comedians and comedy fans alike.
SXSW in Austin was set to begin this weekend, but also cancelled.
The official statement from Melbourne:
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.
The success of our Festival is in the way that comedy transforms our city for the inspiration and entertainment of hundreds of thousands of comedy lovers.
Our primary concern is the health and welfare of our artists and participants, staff and audiences. Cancelling the Festival is heartbreaking but the only decision possible to support the community’s efforts to slow the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).
Ticketholders will be notified shortly regarding refunds.
We’re devastated by the news, thank everyone for their understanding and support and look forward to sharing a laugh with you again soon.