Now that the Parade and Party have been reunited on March 5, it is a good opportunity to explain the symbiotic relationship between these landmark events.
The Mardi Gras Party is not just a spectacle. The Party ticket plays a very important role as the primary fundraiser for the Parade.
Do you have any idea how much barriers, lighting, portaloos, Parade infrastructure and user-pay fees cost?
An additional benefit is the newly introduced PET scheme. This is a win-win situation for both Parade entrants and the Party. Also, many community organisations use cloak-check and the provision of other facilities at the Party to raise funds.
You may not be able to afford a ticket for the main Mardi Gras Party and there are lots of other events around that weekend to cater for your situation. I’m sure there are many other reasons that people cannot or do not want to attend the party.
However, I know of people who will perversely be partying at many other events over the Mardi Gras season, especially Parade/Party weekend, that would cost in excess of a MG Party ticket. Many of these people are not attending the main Mardi Gras Party.
The profit for a lot of these fringe events goes directly into the pockets of the fringe party promoters’ pockets. It does not benefit Mardi Gras financially. These fringe events are very important also for the choice and diversity of functions that are presented during the festival.
However, without the focus of Mardi Gras on the first Saturday of March every year, many of these fringe events would not be viable.
I also know of people, friends, who are actively discouraging overseas visitors from attending the main Mardi Gras Party. Without the Party, other sources of funds will be needed to secure the viability of the Parade.
Over the history of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, the Parade has without question directly contributed to the visibility of our communities.
Visibility is the key to overturning the injustices our local and overseas communities face. This visibility has advanced GLBTQI and human rights in Australia and around the world. We have used this forum to challenge and howl down our detractors.
Our fellow campaigners in less enlightened countries do not have this extraordinary opportunity to fight for their rights and Say Something about their desire for equality and democracy. Some have paid a high price for this courageous stance with oppression, imprisonment, torture and with their lives.
So let me ask you, how much is full equality, the advancement of human rights and a better world worth to you?
Have a happy and safe Mardi Gras and please Say Something about an issue that is important to you.
Photo: Allan Vella