Longstanding HIV/AIDS charity the Bobby Goldsmith Foundation is confident its Mardi Gras parade paid seating area Glamstand will impress after a move from Flinders Street to Hyde Park South this year.

BGF chief executive Bev Lange said Glamstand shifted from its traditional home because the seating required for Flinders Street was in Melbourne for the Commonwealth Games.

The seating stands that we used last year and that we had planned to use this year come from Melbourne, Lange told Sydney Star Observer.

We have not been able to find any other seating across the countryside that would be able to be constructed within the road closure times [on Flinders Street].

BGF struck a deal with the City of Sydney to use Hyde Park South as a one-off for the 4 March parade. The organisation plans to move the seating back to Flinders Street in 2007.

This year Glamstand will include reserved seating in Hyde Park South, along Liverpool Street.

There will also be a general admission Glamstand seating area on the footpath and first lane of Liverpool Street, just in front of the reserved stands.

BGF expects to sell at least 3,000 Glamstand tickets this year. Capacity is about 3,300.

Because we aren’t constrained by road closures [this year] we’re actually building grandstand-type seating, Lange said.

BGF has enlisted singer Shauna Jensen and drag favourite Vanessa Wagner as Glamstand hosts. The entertainment line-up includes drag king Sexy Galexy and rock group The Frocks.

BGF will also enter a parade float featuring Human Nature singer Toby Allen and his partner on TV show Dancing With The Stars, Leeanne Bampton.

Because we’re going to be in a location that means the parade will pass us by fairly early, it gives us the ability to continue to entertain our patrons, which we’ll be doing, Lange said.

The longstanding parade seating was a key part of BGF fundraising and exposed new audiences to the organisation’s work, she said.

In part the people who come to the Glamstand seating are not necessarily part of BGF’s traditional supporter base.

But they come to view the parade in comfort, with full amenities, and they get exposed to BGF and the work that we do.

Glamstand tickets cost from $75 plus GST and booking fee for general admission (unreserved) seating or from $100 plus GST and booking fee for reserved seating. Concession prices are available on request. Book on 136 100 or at the Ticketmaster website.

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