Melbourne’s  Moomba festival will go ahead this year after an announcement made yesterday that it would be cancelled.

The cancellation of the annual Labour Day festival was blamed on COVID-19, but Melbourne Lord Mayor Sally Capp said that cancelling it was a mistake.

“Melburnians want Moomba to proceed,” she said.

There will be a reduced program of events — the annual Birdman Rally, parade and water skiing will not be going ahead, however the Moomba monarchs will be back.

“We worked tirelessly overnight to ensure more events will be put on as part of Moomba 2.0,” she said.

“Listening to the public response, speaking with the Victorian government and receiving so much support from the festival and events sector gave us an opportunity to reimagine Moomba.”

She added that “we’re kind of working moment by moment”.

Major Events Minister Martin Pakula had on Thursday night expressed disappointment concerning the cancellation which he said was “premature”, especially bearing in mind that the Chief Health Officer had approved the event.

The festival will be spread out across the city with carnival rides in Alexandra Gardens and performances in Melbourne’s iconic lanes.

“We will be filling them up with pop-up music performances and street art exhibitions,” Cr Capp said.

Events will take place at various sites, including Docklands and concerts at the Myer Music Bowl.

Melbourne will be lit up in red to “encourage everyone to show their love for Melbourne”.