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Christmas Pageant could be ticketed and off streets for years

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Adelaide’s Christmas Pageant could remain a ticketed event until 2024, with the State Government undecided about whether it is safe to return the event to its traditional street parade format due to the ongoing pandemic.

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An Events SA tender document, released yesterday, states the annual Christmas Pageant “may require ticketing services” from 2022 to 2024, after the event was last year taken off city streets for the first time in its 87-year history and instead held as a ticketed evening spectacle capped at 25,000 people at Adelaide Oval.

According to the document, the ticketing requirements for the Pageant are “still to be determined”, but a ticketing agency is required to include the event, alongside other government-run major festivals such as Tasting Australia and the Tour Down Under, in a new ticketing system to be run by Events SA.

“The ticketing requirements for the National Pharmacies Christmas Pageant are still to be determined, however the successful supplier (ticketing agency) will need to have the ability to include this, and any other ticketing required across ESA (Events SA), within their ticketing system,” the document states.

“It should be noted that any NPCP (National Pharmacies Christmas Pageant) event held at the Adelaide Oval is out of the scope due to their exclusive ticketing arrangement through Ticketek.”

In a statement, Events SA executive director Hitaf Rasheed said the tender listed all government-managed events including Tasting Australia, the Santos Tour Down Under and the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge, alongside the Christmas Pageant.

“As this is a three year contract, all events are included to ensure any potential requirements (including contact tracing) for this year and future years are covered,” she said.

The Christmas Pageant, which is officially recognised as a “heritage icon” by the National Trust of Australia and a “state institution” by the SA Government, is traditionally a non-ticketed event and normally attracts up to 300,000 people along city streets.

But COVID-19 social distancing restrictions forced the State Government to last year run the event as a seated “twilight spectacle” at Adelaide Oval.

It was later revealed that Adelaide Oval had sold tickets to the Pageant as corporate packages worth as much as $2250, prompting Premier Steven Marshall to intervene by asking the sales of corporate tickets to stop.

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