Sore-headed Sydneysiders gradually eased back into their normal lives this week after a Mardi Gras party on Saturday night that has been hailed by organisers as a huge success.
Although the party did not sell out, around 19,000 partygoers descended on Fox Studios after the parade for a marathon night of dancing and associated shenanigans.
Mardi Gras president Julie Regan described the party as an amazing event.
In this difficult year of low box office numbers across the country, we’ve managed to fill yet another fantastic Mardi Gras party, and I’m very proud of everyone involved in this huge effort, she said.
Ticket sales to the event experienced a huge spike in the final week, Mardi Gras chief executive officer Kelly Gardiner told Sydney Star Observer. Several hundred tickets were sold at the Sydney Cricket Ground box office on the night of the party, she added.
Gardiner said the Mardi Gras medical team experienced a quiet night for serious issues and a busy night for small things. Eight ambulances were called for patrons who had experienced difficulty after taking the drug GHB -“ slightly down on the number for last year’s party.
A small number of security incidents occurred on the night, all around the same time, Gardiner said. Security personnel dealt with a number of fence-jumpers, while other ticket-holders were forced to wait in the rain for up to 20 minutes when the front gate turnstile system broke down.
The rained-on ticket holders were unlucky to miss the first of four memorable shows in the Royal Hall of Industries.
Canadian songstress Deborah Cox wowed the crowds at 1am with her hits Nobody’s Supposed To Be Here and Absolutely Not!, the latter song performed with the assistance of 21 Chanel-clad drag performers.
At 2:30am, Popstars graduates Bardot took to the stage to perform their single I Need Somebody in a James Bond-themed show which also featured 20 Pussy Galores and four drag king 007s.
Arguably the campest moment of the night was to come at 4am when Human Nature belted out Wham!’s high-energy hit I’m Your Man, complete with George Michael styling, 30 retro-clad male dancers and a shower of golden glitter.
Swedish trio Alcazar performed their dancefloor favourite Crying At The Discotheque just before 10am, bringing an end to the 12-hour party.
Entertainment was also on offer in the Hordern Pavilion, courtesy of a jelly-wrestling pit, and at the Diva Drag Bar, where the cream of Sydney’s drag industry strutted, pouted and generally put it about. Other partygoers made use of an expanded Bent Street precinct and a few hardy souls braved a ride on a giant bucking inflated penis.
The jelly wrestling and the giant penis added an adventure playground feel to the night’s festivities, Gardiner commented.
Party director Glenn Horder said he was really, really happy with the party, particularly as it was his last in the role of Mardi Gras party director.
It was the best party I’ve ever been involved with, he said. I’m very happy to have been involved, but it’s time for someone else to take the reins and give the party a new direction, which is hopefully what I’ve done over the past few years.
Gardiner said Mardi Gras had already received lots of congratulatory phone calls and emails about the party.
When asked what lessons could be taken from the 2002 Mardi Gras party for future parties, Gardiner said the Mardi Gras parties would continue to be shaped by patron feedback.
We’ll also be remembering to keep extension cords out of puddles, she quipped.