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Broken Heel steps back in time

Wednesday, 28th July, 2021

Organisers of the annual Broken Heel Festival have been forced to bounce the date back to December.
The event, which began in 2016, has usually been held in September, but Managing Director of the Palace and Festival Director, Esther La Rovere, says the COVID situation makes the original date a little too close for comfort.
“We are moving our festival to the weekend of December 3 to 6,” she says. “We just didn’t really think, looking ahead, that we’d be able to operate the festival in September without restrictions.
“Also, I guess, very high on our priority list was to get that extra time so that our local community and the guests that are coming can be fully vaccinated. We don’t want COVID making an impact on Broken Hill, because we’ve been pretty much COVID-free for all this time.”
Ms La Rovere says refunds will be available for those who can’t re-adjust to the new schedule, but she doesn’t expect the final turnout to drastically change.
“About 1800 tickets had already been sold,” she says. “The change of date, obviously, might put a bit of a dent in those numbers, but it might also mean that we pick up a few people who, for one reason or another, couldn’t make it to the September dates.”
Ms La Rovere also stresses that the line-up of performers, including cabaret sensation Bob Downe, SOS ABBA and Aboriginal Australian electronic music duo Electric Fields, will remain unchanged by the postponement.
“We’ve only got two performers coming out of Sydney,” she says. “The rest are from Melbourne, regional Victoria, regional New South Wales and Queensland, so it’s unlikely COVID lockdowns will prevent any of them from coming.”
For those disturbed by the prospect of thousands of partygoers descending upon Broken Hill during a pandemic, Ms La Rovere hopes the postponement may ease their concerns.
“It’s all about safety, really,” she says. “One of the positive comments we always get about our event is just that welcoming feeling that our community puts out to our guests who travel here from far away to attend the festival.
“I’m hoping the delay in dates will ensure that the friendly, welcoming vibe is still present - it’s a standout comment we always get and it says a lot about our community. I really want to make sure that becomes known as a Broken Hill trait.”
The Broken Heel Festival will feature a detailed COVID plan, QR codes for contact tracing and touch-point sanitising. However, Ms La Rovere cannot guarantee at this point that those into bright lipstick will not be disappointed.
“Whether we all have to wear masks or not,” she laughs, “well, we’ll just have to wait and see.”

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