Competition in the Royal South Street Eisteddfod is in limbo or online following the state's rapid series of lockdowns.
Royal South Street Society chairman Peter Zala said competitions scheduled during July and August, including debating, piano, speech and drama, and instrumental solos had been postponed in the hope they could go ahead in the coming months.
Some competitions including debating, school bands and orchestras and choral competitions are likely to go ahead online.
But the crunch will come in about two weeks when Royal South Street Society will be forced to make a decision on the immediate future of some of the historic eisteddfod's biggest competitions including calisthenics, dance and the Herald Sun Aria.
We've taken the attitude to keep our chins up and look on the bright side but the day will come where we need to bite the bullet on a decision for a fair few of our disciplines and that's coming upon us pretty fast- Peter Zala
If cancelled it will be another blow to the eisteddfod, which this year celebrates its 130th anniversary.
Last year's competition was cancelled because of COVID, which came after a series of difficult years for the annual event with the closure of Her Majesty's Theatre for renovations for the whole 2018 program and part of the 2019 schedule.
"What we have done is defer everything in the hope that later in the year we can run competitions, but we are going ahead with some events online," he said.
"But you really don't know because this darn thing (COVID) is so virulent we can be back in lockdown so quickly."
Mr Zala said entry numbers had been strong with competitors missing the competition after its cancellation last year.
"Choir numbers were down a bit because with social distancing they haven't been able to rehearse, but dance numbers were higher than they were in 2019 and calisthenics was much the same ... so generally speaking our entries were strong," he said.
Border closures have impacted interstate competitors, including a calisthenics club from Brisbane who had never been to Ballarat before but had entered competitors in every class.
"Dance and calisthenics competitions are scheduled for September and October but the time is now getting awfully tight given lockdowns," Mr Zala said.
"And if we do have some of our rescheduled competitions go ahead late in our season we will be running a lot of the big competitions concurrently which will be challenging.
"But I think within the next two weeks we will need to make some rulings. We've taken the attitude to keep our chins up and look on the bright side but the day will come where we need to bite the bullet on a decision for a fair few of our disciplines and that's coming upon us pretty fast."
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Mr Zala said the lack of competition and audiences would again bite the Royal South Street Society's finances, as would extra technology costs to run competitions online, although there would be some small savings in accommodation and costs for competition adjudicators.
Economic studies have shown the Royal South Street Eisteddfod is worth $10 million to $15 million to the local economy each year, and CBD businesses noticed the impact of the event not taking place with one hotel last year reporting their turnover was down $7000 a week without dance and calisthenics alone.
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