New Mardi Gras will announce a stunning profit of almost $500K at its annual general meeting at the end of this month.

But the organisation is treading a careful path into the future, with current chair David Imrie, former chair Marcus Bourget and general manager Anna McInnerney agreeing the 2009 season is unlikely to draw the same huge crowds as this year’s 30th anniversary celebrations.

Can we expect the same sort of numbers to participate in the 2009 Mardi Gras festival? It would be a brave person who would answer this question in the affirmative, Bourget wrote in his director’s report.

A degree of consolidation would seem prudent, although we should continue to explore other areas where we can diversify our income base.

McInnerney said there was an obvious need for the organisation to end its reliance on revenue from dance parties.

We have come a long way in building confidence and creating a more viable financial model, she stated. However after a very big year such as this one there is an inevitable feeling of -˜well, what next?’

I do not believe Mardi Gras’ best years are behind it, but to forge into the future we will need to demonstrate a new vision for the festival.

New Mardi Gras rode a wave of interest in the event’s 30th anniversary celebrations this year, posting a profit of $483,650. The profit figure will allow New Mardi Gras to fulfil its agreement to donate cash back to the community, with Queer Screen and the NSW Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby already picking up cheques, and ACON to get a cash injection of $28,000.

New Mardi Gras will also face a different pressure this year, with only five people nominating for the eight board positions.

Current chair David Imrie and former co-chair Steph Sands, along with William Law, Kirk Muddle and Gregory Small, will be automatically elected to the organisation’s governing board at the August 23 AGM. New Mardi Gras will look to appoint interested parties to the vacant positions after the AGM.

Outgoing board members include former chair Marcus Bourget, Des Tupua, James Wright, Regina Wootton and Michael Douglas.

Imrie, who is expected to be re-elected chair at the AGM, said he was hopeful talks with Events NSW would result in significant government fudning for New Mardi Gras.

We are working closely with government and corporate bodies to ensure the continued sustainability and growth of the organisation and the festival, he wrote in his report to members.

There does appear to be light at the end of this long tunnel as our discussions proceed with the newly formed Events NSW.

info: The New Mardi Gras AGM will be held August 23 at 297 – 299 Trafalgar St, Petersham. You can download a copy of the annual report via the website www.mardigras.org.au.

New events coming?

New Mardi Gras is considering a string of new events to broaden its revenue base.
Chair David Imrie said planning of the events was still in its infancy.

We are considering various new events to add to our calendar, with a particular focus on exclusive member events, but we are still in preliminary planning at the moment so you’ll have to stay tuned for specifics, he told Sydney Star Observer.

The 2009 festival is being planned right now in line with our available cash, government and corporate support. We are anticipating an exciting broad-reaching festival, a truly world-class event that our community will be proud of and enjoy.

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