Released by the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras (SGLMG) Board on Tuesday, SGLMG CEO Michael Rolik said in the report that Mardi Gras returned a “modest profit” of $45,693, a gross profit of 3 percent. While the profit is relatively small, the figure represents a turnaround of $118,750 on the year before, which incurred a loss of over $73,000.
The results represent the first year SGLMG has turned a profit on its operations since 2009, after the ill-fated decision to split the 2010 parade and after-party by a week helped contribute to a loss of $575,627. Since then Mardi Gras has operated at substantial losses, although never of the same magnitude as 2010.
The announcement may give credit to the board’s decision to shift focus from the traditional Oxford Street demographic of older men to a younger, more female audience in Sydney’s inner west. While smaller events like Women Say Something, Harbour Party, The Laneway and Queer Thinking broke records for attendance, the showcase Mardi Gras Party saw a drop in attendance to 12,000, down almost 3,000 people on 2012 when Kylie Minogue headlined.
The profit comes despite small drops in paid attendances and box office revenue. Almost 45,000 people attended paid events, down from over 47,500 in 2012, while box office revenue pulled around $60,000 less than the year before. The report only made one mention of the 2013 Mardi Gras Party’s headliner, Swedish pop singer and 2012 Eurovision winner Loreen, preferring to praise more familiar acts who performed such as singer Delta Goodrem and local electronica duo the Presets.
Rolik said the result was very positive given a number of adverse factors Mardi Gras had to deal with this year, including “above average rainfalls affecting our events, a very high Australian dollar, rising costs and increasingly onerous compliance requirements”.
The report also mentioned the controversy surrounding accusations of police brutality in the hours after the parade and assured festival goers that SGLMG was “working to address” the issue with police and government, although the fact that such incidents occurred at the end of the festival meant they likely had little effect on profitability.