26 November 2021

November's big wet forces Canberra Symphony Orchestra to cancel Summer Prom

| Ian Bushnell
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Two men with umbrellas walking in the rain

The ACT’s unseasonal rain is tipped to continue, forcing the cancellation of Canberra Symphony Orchestra’s Summer Prom. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

November’s record-breaking rain has forced the cancellation of Canberra Symphony Orchestra’s popular Summer Prom at Government House on Saturday, 4 December.

It is a soggy and sad end to 2021 for Canberra Symphony Orchestra (CSO) which, like other arts organisations, has had its season disrupted by COVID-19 lockdown and restrictions.

CSO said it was a difficult decision to cancel the event, but the downpours this week left it no choice but to abandon the event for safety reasons.

It said that even if the rain abated next week, it is extremely unlikely conditions would improve on time to host the event, let alone set up a stage and other infrastructure earlier in the week.

CSO identified unacceptable risks to patron safety, as well as the risk of vehicles becoming bogged and damage to the grounds at Government House.

While CSO considered a range of options, neither moving to an indoor venue or postponement were viable.

READ ALSO Canberra region heads for its wettest November on record

It said an indoor event would not be possible under current COVID-19 restrictions, nor would it be consistent with the Summer Prom’s ethos as an informal, family-friendly picnic event.

Given the current weather outlook, postponing the event was also not viable, and CSO is conscious many people, including musicians, would be travelling interstate to visit loved ones after months of restrictions and border closures.

CSO CEO Rachel Thomas said the cancellation is incredibly disappointing news for musicians, staff and concertgoers, particularly following weeks of lockdown and COVID-19 cancellations.

“I want to thank our whole community for the strong support for this event – this isn’t how we hoped to end a challenging year, but we look forward to sharing a fantastic 2022 season with our dedicated audiences,” she said.

Refunds will be automatically processed in the week commencing Monday, 13 December. Patrons will have the option to contact CSO before then if they wish to convert their refund to a tax-deductible donation.

CSO will divert 50 per cent of donations to HeartStrings Foundation, its ticketing fund for members of the community experiencing financial hardship, social isolation or other barriers to the concert hall.

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