It’s been 13 years since the first Harbour Party graced our shoreline. Inspired by New York’s Pier Party during Pride Week, original organiser Phillip Diment thought it was time to escape the confines of a showground and enjoy the beauty of the Sydney foreshore.

Over the next six years the party donated $200,000 to various community organisations in Sydney.

It’s still a pleasure to be partying on that site and it’s wonderful to see the community still supports this great Sydney event, Diment said.

It’s been a journey of highs and lows. After Diment’s departure in 2002, the party went through several name changes and secured its spot as one of the highlights of the Mardi Gras calendar.
In 2007, under the name of Azure, the party was shut down due to a police crackdown on illicit drugs. Many charges involving drug supply and possession were laid against those arrested.

Nikki Woloszuk, spokeswoman for the NSW Police Media Unit said that in 2007, the Azure V dance party was closed by order of an authorised officer after an application was made by NSW Police.

The grounds relied upon were, amongst other things, including 25 drug detections at the premises, 16 arrests, seven involving trafficable quantities of prohibited drugs, one of whom was a staff member, she said.

The authorised officer was satisfied that those matters constituted a breach of sections 125E(1)(b) and 125E(2)(b) of the Liquor Act (since amended), which had been committed on the premises, which were an extension of a hotelier’s license, that they were a significant threat or risk to public health and that closure of the premises was necessary to prevent significant threat or risk to the public interest.

That was the last time the party would operate under that name. New Mardi Gras took it over in 2008 and this year’s party is called Harbour ’09.

The event will act as the official arrival party for international guests. New Mardi Gras is expecting the party to be a sell-out which means thousands of partygoers flocking to the Fleet Steps at Mrs Macquarie’s Point.

Last year saw us run the party for the first time, so we will be building on experience with this year’s event. Not only will Harbour be a highlight of the Mardi Gras calendar, it’s set to be a highlight of an entire year’s worth of Sydney parties, New Mardi Gras chairman David Imrie said.

There is no other party quite like this -” and most of that unique status comes down to the location. The sun setting on a balmy late summer Sunday evening with several thousand sexy people. It’s usually the first event they go to, especially because it is so truly Sydney in its location, its attendees, its line-up.

We have planned the event so that everyone will enjoy it no matter what the weather brings. The event will be held rain or shine, and will be a great day for everyone.

Known for the hit song Black and Gold and his new wave persona, Sam Sparro will headline the party on Sunday 1 March. He’s been busy touring the country with the Good Vibrations festival and working on his second album (and apparently on Lindsay Lohan’s new album), but Sparro is making time for his Sydney gay debut.

He told the Star he loves to turn his show into a high energy Las Vegas gospel rave, so expect his Harbour party debut to be magically camp with a touch of the avant-garde.

Sam Sparro adds the final touch to this year’s already exciting Harbour Party, Imrie said.
His iconic status in the gay community, and legendary performances around the world, make him an obvious choice for the event, and we expect a fantastic turn-out for this show.

With his self-titled album garnering five ARIA nominations, Sparro has become one of the most exciting young musical talents in the world today and a must-see at Harbour ’09.

This year will also see the return of UK sensation Peyton. The singer is about to release a new track called All That Matters, which he said he’s dying to perform.

Last year was my first-ever Harbour Party, and to be honest I haven’t stopped talking about it since. It really was one of my favourite events of the whole year, and I was lucky enough to do some pretty fantastic gigs in some very beautiful locations, but the Harbour Party absolutely rocked, Peyton said.

There was just something so magical about that setting, and the energy of the crowd. I’m very excited to be invited back again this year. I’ve been looking forward to it for months.

I don’t usually decide what I’m going to sing at a party until about fifteen minutes before going on stage. It really depends on what the crowd is like, and what the DJ who’s on before me is playing, and my mood.

An array of top DJs including Stephen Allkins, Kate Monroe, Alex Taylor and Shigeki will play the hottest tunes around.

Last year was our first time running the party and it was a big success. This year we know the ropes and we’re going to bring the party back to the standard that made it famous, Imrie said.
New Mardi Gras has unparalleled

experience in running big parties in our community and we’ve been able to bring our skills in security, medical and relationship handling to bear on the party.

The party is blessed with one of the most spectacular locations anywhere on the planet. Mardi Gras production expertise and creativity are going to make this an absolute must for gay partygoers the world over.

info: Harbour ’09 is on Sunday 1 March from 3pm – 11pm. Tickets are on sale through Ticketek on 132 849 or at www.ticketek.com.au.

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