When the last rays of sunlight were about to disappear, at the city center of Australian capital Canberra, Sean Gautusa was playing a guitar and singing.
Gautusa, from local band H-Cee family, was among the performers and musicians providing entertainment at six venues during a three-night celebration ahead of the New Year.
It followed cancellation of the firework show in Canberra due to COVID-19 concern.
Colourful lights also shone bright on iconic Canberran attractions from 9 p.m. to midnight.
“New Year’s Eve across the City will be focused on keeping our community safe, while we support our local hospitality, arts and entertainment sectors,” said a media release from the government of the Australian Capital Territory.
“It is good to have local government supporting local businesses,” said Gautusa. “Without local musicians, local businesses, everyone supporting each other, it will be really tough, particularly at this time.”
The year 2020 started in Australia with bushfires before later the COVID-19 pandemic affected many people including the singer. He had canceled their plan to perform in New South Wales, where the latest outbreak in a cluster on the Northern Beaches has grown to 144 cases.
“We have young kids and elderly parents. We’d better stay at home,” he said.
Although he missed a lot of work this year, such as performances at weddings and corporate events, he noted that he was able to spend more time with family, relax burden and take a break.
Similarly, another musician, Touie Smith, who would replace Gautusa as the next performer, also saw their performances stopped in 2020 for many months.
Thus he was happy to be singing in streets for the New Year celebration.
“It is a good way to end what has been a tough year with a lot of people,” he said. “It has been an eventful year … We are getting used to the world we are living in, getting used to dealing with serious problems.”
Holding a glass of beer, Ana Mundy was sitting in a pub opposite the performers to enjoy the music. She was a bit disappointed at cancellation of the firework show, but said it was “a small price to pay for keeping every one healthier.”
She had no travel plan for the New Year. “We just live locally and we are going to enjoy dinner locally with family,” she said. “It is safer to stay closer to home.”
Talking about her New Year wish, the woman said, “I think just health really, for every one, better health and probably mental well-being as well.”
Bruce Griffiths and his wife Marlis came from a resort city in New South Wales. “It is nice to escape to Canberra where it is quieter,” said the husband, holding a box of wine.
Marlis Griffiths said they were lucky to be in Canberra. Her family was in Europe where she said the COVID-19 situation was worse. “I am grateful we could walk around here. Hopefully next year it will get a lot more better.”
This is also the New Year wish of Touie Smith the performer.
“I hope we have a successful vaccine and I hope life can return somewhat to normal in 2021,” he said.