The City of Cape Town has taken the decision to cancel the annual Festive Lights Switch-on Event for 2020. The iconic free, open air concert draws a crowd of approximately 100 000 people annually and sets the tone for Cape Town’s festive season.
“In light of the COVID-19 pandemic and the extension of the National Disaster Management Act restrictions on the number of people allowed at public gatherings, it was important to pause the event for the safety of all those who would be involved in the concert,” said Mayco Member for Safety and Security JP Smith.
Additionally, it was important for the City to take into consideration the need for austerity, given the adverse impact the pandemic and subsequent lockdown has had on the economy. The Festive Lights Switch-on is the City’s signature event, which has helped usher in the joyous season for five decades while also providing entertainment for locals and tourists.
“We understand the disappointment that could arise from such a decision, however there is a silver lining. The City is considering hosting several smaller events as part of the Cape Town CBD revitalisation programme, the first of which is set to take place at the Greenmarket Square this week,” Smith said.
These events will be organised in line with the national lockdown restrictions and with the health and safety protocols in place.
“We are also in discussion with various event organisers to bring their events to the CBD. As the City of Cape Town, we believe events will be central in revitalising the economy going forward,” he added. “Events have over the years been a major catalyst in the growth of auxiliary sectors like hospitality, retail and tourism, because the people you attract to the events hosted in your city spend money here.”
Over the last seven months, the events industry has seen a downturn and job losses due to regulations, and the City has assisted in arresting this decline by supporting event organisers as much as it can to ensure that the sector remains afloat.
“The City will communicate with the public on the date and venues for the upcoming events,” Smith concluded.