There was a glimmer of hope that Melbourne’s snap seven-day lockdown would end on Thursday and Rising would be able to open for its final weekend, but following the news of Victoria’s extended lockdown organisers have confirmed they’re cancelling the last three days of the festival (June 4 to 6).

It’s been devastating timing for the arts and culture event. Rising opened for only one day before lockdown and its program featured exciting works by hundreds of local artists.

Co-artistic directors Hannah Fox and Gideon Obarzanek said in a statement, “Created by literally hundreds of artists, most of the shows and events for the festival were made during previous lockdowns or heavy restrictions. So while this current outcome is not unexpected, we are devastated by how this present Covid outbreak and lockdown has impacted the thousands of people working on our festival and the many hundreds of thousands of people unable to attend.

“Our commitment to artists and audiences however remains adamant and with continued resilience we look forward to a future when they can come together again.”

Rising has contacted all ticket holders to issue refunds. Patricia Piccinini’s A Miracle Constantly Repeated will also remain closed until after the long weekend, reopening on Tuesday June 15, so long as restrictions are lifted.

Rising’s staff says they’re not giving up on the festival’s outstanding program – or its artists – just yet. Stating via Instagram, “While the situation has been moving rapidly, we’re continuing to explore ways that audiences may be able to experience Rising and support artists into the future.”

Melbourne is currently in lockdown. Masks are mandated in public spaces, public gatherings are banned and minimal social contact is recommended. If you have concerns about visiting businesses or public spaces, or questions about self-isolation or coronavirus testing, check out the latest updates from the Department of Health and Human Services.