Sydney Leather Pride faces an uncertain future after ticket sales for its New Year’s Eve Fantasy party last weekend fell dramatically short of expectations.
Organisers had hoped up to 4,000 people would attend the Fox Studios event, staged after Sydney Pride decided not to hold its traditional end-of-year party because of budgetary concerns.
But only an estimated 1,200 people bought Fantasy tickets, leaving Sydney Leather Pride with a financial headache of its own.
The group organised the party with Harbour City Bears and New Mardi Gras but bankrolled it alone, spending about $150,000 to $200,000, president Gary Kennedy told Sydney Star Observer.
Kennedy said he was not at liberty to say how much money Fantasy lost, but admitted Sydney Leather Pride could fold because of the shortfall.
We don’t have many options: we either have to trade our way out of debt or we have to shut down, he said.
We need to speak to our accountants, our creditors and our members. We will know by the end of the week.
Subject to feedback from creditors and members, Sydney Leather Pride would try and run very lean in the next year to reverse the Fantasy loss, Kennedy said.
The organisation draws most of its funds from its mid-year Leather Pride Week, which includes the Inquisition dance party.
Several competing events and the fact Fantasy was a new party could explain the low sales, Kennedy said.
A couple of people have said to us that previous New Year’s Eves haven’t been good, and perhaps we copped some of that as well, he said.
The Pride New Year’s Eve party that saw in 2005 drew only 1,900 partygoers and posted a loss of about $15,000. In earlier years, Pride New Year’s Eve parties have attracted up to 10,000 revellers.
Harbour City Bears president Murray Mills also expressed disappointment at the Fantasy result.
There were certainly less people than I personally anticipated, he told the Star.
The poor turnout means community groups will not receive donations from the event.
In the lead-up to the party, organisers pledged 20 percent of proceeds to New Mardi Gras and 10 percent to Harbour City Bears.