Police encourage festival goers to plan their trips ahead of this weekend

Friday, 24 February 2023 10:12:57 AM

NSW Police is urging festival goers to properly plan their trips and to look out for one another as Sydney WorldPride 2023 festivities continue this weekend.

Operation WorldPride 2023 officially launched on Friday 17 February 2023, with 12 signature events and more than 300 community-based events planned to be held during the 17-day festival.

As part of the festivities, police will be conducting proactive duties throughout the Sydney CBD tonight (Friday 24 February 2023) as the ‘Live and Proud’ Sydney WorldPride Opening Concert takes place at The Domain.

The Opening Concert kicks off a series of key festival events, including this weekend’s 45th Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras.

The event will be held on Oxford Street for the first time since the beginning of the pandemic.

Police are continuing to work very closely with festival organisers and the LGBTIQ+ communities to ensure that the upcoming events are safe and fun for the entire community.

Operation WorldPride 2023 Commander, Assistant Commissioner Tony Cooke says it has been fantastic to see people already celebrating the events safely and encourages festival goers to continue to look after one another.

“Tonight’s opening concert is a family friendly event, and all attendees are encouraged to do their part to ensure that it is a safe and enjoyable event for all,” Assistant Commissioner Cooke said.

With significant crowds expected to make their way through major transport hubs before and after the opening concert and throughout the weekend, police will be focused on maintaining public safety and security.

Hundreds of thousands of spectators are expected to head into the Sydney CBD tomorrow night (Saturday 25 February 2023) as Mardi Gras parade participants light up the streets in a colourful celebration of rainbow pride and diversity.

“The NSW Police Force have proudly been taking part in the parade since 1998, and we’re pleased again to be represented in the Mardi Gras celebrations.”

Assistant Commissioner Cooke reminded all parade participants, spectators, residents, and the wider community to plan their trips ahead of time.

“We want everyone – spectators, participants and the general public – to enjoy both nights safely, so we are urging those supporting the event to plan your nights ahead of time; know how you are getting into the city, what you’re doing at both the concert and parade, and how you’re getting home,” Assistant Commissioner Cooke said.

“A number of major road closures will in place from tonight and across the weekend. So, it’s best to leave the car at home and utilise the public transport services available.

Access the ‘Trip Planner’ application and check the latest timetable and ticketing information for trains, buses, ferries and taxi ranks via www.transportnsw.info.

“Anyone driving in the CBD should expect significant delays and take extra care as there will be heavy pedestrian traffic,” Assistant Commissioner Cooke said.

Motorists are advised to expect delays and check special event traffic information, including live traffic reports by visiting www.livetraffic.com.

“If you plan on drinking, have a Plan B and know how you are getting home. Do not drink and drive,” Assistant Commissioner Cooke said.

The community is reminded that police will target anyone taking or dealing illicit drugs, as well as those engaged in alcohol-related crime or anti-social behaviour.

“Alcohol affects your ability to assess risks, make decisions and behave responsibly so think before you drink and don’t ruin your night with foolish behaviour,” Assistant Commissioner Cooke said.

“The same goes for those who consume or attempt to distribute illicit drugs. Not only are you committing a criminal offence but you’re also taking a serious gamble with your health – you cannot be sure what you are consuming, so do not take the risk,” Assistant Commissioner Cooke said.

For further information on alcohol-free zones, visit the City of Sydney website: www.cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au.

Visit the official event website for more information about the parade and after party, including directions for those who’ve purchased tickets for priority seating: https://sydneyworldpride.com/events/mardi-gras-parade/