With party ticket sales hovering around the 15,000 mark, in a surprise move this Tuesday Mardi Gras announced that tickets will be on sale at the showgrounds Saturday night.

Despite the move it is still likely that this year’s Mardi Gras post-parade party will undoubtedly be the smallest in almost a decade.

However, if sales reach the expected 18,000 mark, revenue generated from these sales will allay Mardi Gras’ recent financial woes for the time being.

Mardi Gras CEO Kelly Gardiner played down the decision to sell tickets at the showground saying it merely replaced a previous arrangement which would have seen Global Gossip selling tickets until midnight. She stressed that tickets would still only be available to members. Global Gossip will now close at 6pm.

Gardiner this week again refused to confirm or deny information on ticket sales, but she did confirm that Mardi Gras is not predicting the party will sell out this year.

In order to reach current budget projections for the ensuing financial year Mardi Gras will need to achieve ticket sales of around 17,500 for this year’s party. Gardiner was coy on the issue.

We’d be happy with that sales figure. We’d be happy with more, Gardiner stated to Sydney Star Observer.

Look, the world has gone mad. Across the festival we’ve got a whole lot of events that have sold out, but some of our events have had full houses early on in the season and lower numbers later on, which is the opposite of what usually happens in theatre, Gardiner said.

Look at the Opera House -“ it’s been down 30 percent since September 11. We’re not seeing anything as consistent as that. For no apparent reason some events at this season are just not taking off. That unusual pattern has also affected the way the party has been selling.

Despite the community’s lukewarm interest in this year’s party, organisation for the event is progressing healthily.

Rumours that Australian pop outfits Bardot and Human Nature will perform at this year’s event strengthened over the past week, with sources close to Human Nature confirming both acts will perform in separate shows in the Hordern Pavilion in the early hours of Sunday morning.

Gardiner said that negotiations between Mardi Gras and the police over policing strategies for this year’s party have progressed well.

While Gardiner was unable to comment on whether sniffer dogs will be present at the party, it is understood the event will be policed in a similar fashion to parties in recent years.

People should be aware that the use of the dogs is a police issue and we can never be certain of whether they will be used or not, Gardiner said. But so far we are expecting policing to be the same as in past years with a number of GLLOs patrolling on the night and our own security teams in place.

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