Ekka 2020 cancelled as coronavirus pandemic continues

COVID-19 has claimed another big name event - the Ekka.

RNA Chief executive Brendan Christou announced today the cancellation of the show in the interest of public health.

Ekka fans will instead have to wait until next year to get their rides and showbags fix.

The showgrounds and Royal International Convention Centre remain on standby to provide temporary hospital accommodation.

"This is the biggest worldwide health crisis in generations; these are very challenging and unprecedented times, and nothing is more important than ensuring the best outcome for public health is achieved,'' Mr Christou said.

"The RNA will provide every assistance to the government during this public health emergency, including the use of our Royal International Convention Centre which can be transformed into a functioning hospital as required."

This is only the third time in the show's history it has been cancelled.

"Over the past 144 years, the Brisbane Showgrounds have been used to help the community in times of need, including being used as a treatment centre in 1918 for those suffering from Spanish Influenza to an evacuation centre for those impacted by the devastation of the 2011 Brisbane floods," he said.

Crowds at the 2019 Ekka. Pic Annette Dew
Crowds at the 2019 Ekka. Pic Annette Dew

Apart from the darkest days of World War II when its grounds were needed to house battalions of Yank soldiers and Marines, only the Spanish influenza epidemic of 1919 stopped the Royal Queensland Show.

Confirmed COVID-19 Cases in QLD

In addition, hundreds of volunteers who donate their time year plan their annual leave around the show dates.

"They are incredibly passionate and supportive of the show and we wanted to give them as much notice as possible,'' Mr Christou said.

"We are also very mindful of our farming families who rely on events like the Ekka that not just showcase and reward the best of the best, but also provide much needed respite and highlight the many challenges they face such as drought.

"Just as our bush communities and farming families inspire us with their resilience the RNA will work tirelessly to ensure the 2021 Ekka is the biggest and best yet."

As recently as March 12, organisers said they had planned to go ahead with the event despite coronavirus concerns.

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