Flood risk forces Riverlights Festival cancellation

Flood risk forces Riverlights Festival cancellation

This Saturday’s Riverlights Multicultural Festival has been cancelled as a result of forecasted rain and potential flooding, Maitland City Council can confirm.

The popular event, which was set to take place in Central Maitland’s Levee precinct and along the riverside, has been called off, after extensive consultation with the State Emergency Service (SES) and Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) throughout the week.

There is a 100% chance of heavy rain as well as minor to moderate flooding expected over the weekend.

Maitland City Council Coordinator City Events and Activation Portia Wendt says the decision wasn’t one that organisers took lightly.

‘We’re disappointed to come to this decision, but the safety of our patrons, our staff and everyone who was scheduled to participate in this weekend’s celebrations comes first.

‘We love working with our local multicultural community groups each year, so much effort goes into the planning and the performances – it's the heart and soul of Riverlights. It’s a shame that we won’t get to see their hard work
come to life this year.

After liaising with emergency services such as SES, Ms Wendt said ‘it was clear that this year’s event could only proceed after extensive modification to the format and footprint.’

‘The river and the riverbank are a big part of Riverlights, and the risk posed by potential flooding, as well as the volume of rain forecasted, has ultimately left us with little option but to cancel this year’s event.’

Previous Riverlights events in 2020 and 2021 were impacted by the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Ms Wendt said the popular event remained a fixture of Council’s annual events calendar and would return in 2023.

‘We’re looking on the bright side and focusing our energy on making Riverlights 2023 a great success.