A volatile few months for Sydney’s gay and lesbian community has not fettered preparations for November’s Gay Games, with organisers riding an encouraging wave of high registration figures and strong ticket sales.

Sydney 2002 have already achieved sell-outs for the Games’ Sunset party and wrestling competitions, with organisers having to release more Sunset tickets over the weekend and engage in negotiations with venue managers to have the spectator capacity for wrestling expanded.

There are still tickets available for Sunset because we have put more out for sale, but people should be warned that those tickets are limited and still selling fast, Gay Games co-president Peter Bailey told Sydney Star Observer yesterday.

Wrestling’s popularity has been followed closely by the ice spectacular and dancing, while the Sunset Party’s popularity is followed closely by the opening ceremony.

Although party organisers are not expected to announce music and scenic details for Gay Games’ parties until next week, Bailey revealed yesterday that Fire Island guru DJ Wayne Gluck will be hosting an exclusive all-night set at the Games.

Wayne Gluck is joining us for the Sunset party and he will do the entire event, which means he will be able to focus the feel of the party really well, take us to where we want to be and bring us out again at the end, Bailey said.

The organisation also released their extensive cultural festival program this week, which features more than 90 events over the festival’s two-week schedule.

I think people are going to be very pleasantly surprised at the size and diversity of the program. People probably will be asking how financially responsible it is to have such a large program given that cultural programs in the past have been fraught with financial problems, Bailey said.

But we have been able to share the risk on our cultural events with other organisations who will stage some of the events, while we will still benefit from a revenue stream on ticket sales.

Bailey said that fall-out from the recent collapse of Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras has been evident, but denied that the organisation is experiencing any irremediable difficulties. It is understood that Gay Games are hoping to announce three new corporate sponsors by the end of next week, pending final negotiations.

The sponsorship area is a particular challenge. Unfortunately some people don’t see a clear differentiation between [Mardi Gras and the Games] and we’ve had to make it clear the differences in the nature of our events, Bailey said.

We’re actually quite pleased that Sleaze is back on. It gives everybody a real sense of enthusiasm. There’s also a real opportunity for the community to galvanise around the Gay Games and to show the 10,000 people who are coming from overseas that we as a community are still very strong, Bailey said.

It is also understood that the Games are about to announce a TV rights deal with SBS with a nightly Roy and HG-style program, but there will be no live direct broadcast of the opening ceremony.

Last week, Sydney 2002 announced news that registration figures were on the brink of surpassing the 13,000 milestone, with 10 sports closed to registrations. Details on what sports are still available can be found on the Gay Games website at www.sydney2002.org.au.
 

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