Mardi Gras party ticket prices have been slashed for New Mardi Gras members in an attempt to get more people joining the organisation and more people to the party.

Member’s tickets to the 2006 party will cost $79, which is $36 less than they were last year.

There will also be a limited release of tickets to non-members for $99. Once these sell out the regular price will be $125, which is the same as last year.

New Mardi Gras also announced they will be selling platinum tickets for $170. Full details are yet to be revealed, though it’s believed the price will include access to VIP areas at the party.

Mardi Gras tickets go on sale at Ticketek next Tuesday 20 December. The party is on Saturday 4 March.

New Mardi Gras chair Marcus Bourget said party tickets were cheaper because the organisation realised prices are starting to become a major issue.

We recognise this fact and are committed to having a cost-effective party for our members and non-members, Bourget said.

Some critics blamed the poor turnout at October’s Sleaze party on the $119 ticket prices.

Bourget said Mardi Gras hoped the low ticket prices would encourage people to join the organisation, which would help raise revenue.

Membership costs $45, or $29 for those under 25, concession card holders and overseas visitors.

Party organisers also announced this week the inclusion of a retro disco space and the DJ line-up.

The headlining international DJ is yet to be named, though Bourget hinted: Think Masterbeat and Miami’s White Party.

Local DJs to be playing include GI Jode, Greg Boladian, Chip, Ric Dreske, Josh, Rob Gilbert, Paul Goodyear, David Hiscock, Mike Kelly, Luke Leal, Kate Monroe, Dan Murphy, Ryan Murphy, Shigeki, Scott Anderson and Lim Jeka.

The line-up also includes Sydney DJ Jayson Forbes, who will be playing at the party for the first time. It’s been a dream of his to be behind the decks at the event since going to his first Mardi Gras party in 1995.

Forbes said he managed to remain fairly calm when he received the phone call last week inviting him to play at the party. But once I actually realised what had just been said the fireworks went off in my head, he said.

And when I was told I’d be playing with Shigeki, that made me even more over the moon.

Forbes and Shigeki will be playing a back-to-back set -“ or a duet, I guess you could call it, Forbes said -“ in the RHI between 10pm and 1am.

We’ll be playing lots of big room anthems and there will be some surprises. Shigeki and I will be bringing both of our styles together and making it one set to remember, he said.

Mardi Gras will release its official 2006 season guide this week.

From Friday 16 December the free guide, containing all events being held during the four-week festival, will be available from most gay and lesbian venues and businesses in Sydney.

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