Melbourne queer arts and cultural festival Midsumma reported a near break-even balance sheet at its annual general meeting this week.

The festival posted a $1996 loss for the 2011/2012 financial year, down from a $8445 shortfall the previous year.

In the annual report, Midsumma treasurer Dean Hamood said the event could have done better without unpaid debts owed to the festival amounting to more than $18,000.

“We would have fared better had it not been for the substantial amount of bad debts, which we have never experienced in the past,” he said.

Most of the bad debt was left by former LGBTI nightspot The Glasshouse Hotel which closed its doors without warning late last year. Festival organisers have been unable to recover the money.

A drop in funding from Arts Victoria was also blamed for the poorer than expected result.

A decision to control the bars at Carnival Day, however, paid off, with the festival making a small profit on bar takings.

Hamood said costs have since been cut by reducing “unnecessary” administrative expenses and forgoing a permanent office space when the festival is in its downtime.

He said the festival is looking to return to surplus next year.

“As each year passes, we become more streamlined in our processes and better equipped to establish future directions of where we would like to be financially, and strive towards this,” Hamood said.

“We still rely heavily on donations and support from the community to continue to deliver successful festivals and appreciate any assistance we receive.”

Midsumma chairwoman Lisa Watts said the result was thanks to the volunteers who helped with organisation.

“Midsumma, unlike most arts and cultural festivals is not only reliant on a strong and committed volunteer base, but is created and shaped by volunteers within the queer community,” she said.

“It’s pleasing to have delivered a break-even position in 2012.”

Next year marks Midsumma’s 25th anniversary.

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