Paniyiri Greek Festival to Go Ahead Amidst Musgrave Park’s Rough Sleepers

Paniyiri Greek Festival

It’s all systems go for the annual Paniyiri Greek Festival, which has attracted over 60,000 people in recent years, amidst fears of a cancellation due to the presence of rough sleepers at Musgrave Park. 

The biggest cultural event in Brisbane will take place as planned on 20 and 21 May 2023 to showcase the rich history of the Greek community. 

Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner confirmed that the 47-year-old festival will not be cancelled but they have taken measures to ensure that the homeless people temporarily setting up camp in Musgrave Park will not be displaced.

Speaking with Neil Breen at 4B, the mayor acknowledges the challenging conundrum of keeping the festival enjoyable for the attendees but also safe for the rough sleepers. 

A section of the park will be cordoned off to allow the homeless to stay. The Council’s team has been discussing with people in the park for a number of weeks leading up to the Greek community’s event to move them to a different section of the park. 

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“[We have been] working with Paniyiri and the State Government to make sure that the event can go ahead but also to make sure that people aren’t being displaced,” said Mr Schrinner.

“We’ve come up with what we believe is a good workable solution. So, no one is going to be evicted from the park. That’s certainly not what we want to see happen. But we’re working with the State Government to make sure housing options are provided to the people that are living in Musgrave Park. There are 15 accommodation options and we’re working through there.”

The mayor also acknowledges that the number of homeless is growing progressively due to the cost of living crisis and the housing crisis. Many renters are now forced to sleep in their cars, under bridges, or in tents in parks like Musgrave Park because landlords stockpile housing for financial gain.

Mr Schrinner has been pushing to open the Pinkenba facility for the homeless. 

Meanwhile, the organisers of the Paniyiri Greek Festival have also released this statement to confirm that the event will not be cancelled: 

“For Paniyiri 2023, GOC St George has been in contact with all levels of Government to chart a path forward with the running of the Festival.  Brisbane City Council has worked closely in support of both Paniyiri Greek Festival and those living in the Park to ensure the Festival can continue in a co-ordinated and cohesive way.  Our planning with Brisbane City Council puts the needs of those living in the Park as a key consideration for the Festival and a range of community initiatives will support the welfare of all involved.”

Published 9-May-2023