Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras is not alone. Pride festivals in London and Auckland have also fallen on hard times.
Last Saturday The Guardian newspaper announced that the organisers of London’s Mardi Gras were facing a Â£400,000 loss after this year’s event failed to attract large enough crowds.
The move from Finsbury Park, North London, to Hackney Marsh has been blamed for the decline: organisers had hoped to sell between 50,000 and 60,000 tickets to the event but sold only 35,000.
Mardi Gras chairman John Miskelly posted an apology to patrons on the organisation’s website.
We got it wrong! It was the wrong location! he wrote. The walk from Stratford to the park, which took 25 minutes on a good day, took you a lot longer. We hadn’t reckoned on the delay that thousands of you walking together created. We are learning from our mistakes and we can assure you that next year’s event will be better!
Corporate recovery experts have been brought in to salvage the organisation, but at this stage its future is unclear.
Closer to home, the Auckland newspaper Express reported on 31 July that a decision to wind up the Hero Incorporated Society, organisers of the Hero parade and festival, was taken at the association’s annual general meeting on 24 July. Only a few people at the meeting voted against the motion, which is expected to be confirmed at a further meeting on 21 August.
Express reported that the organisation’s accumulated funds (around $NZ8,500) would be distributed among queer charities if the wind-up goes ahead, while an Auckland dance party organiser, Eric Spencer, has proposed purchasing the Hero brand and the right to stage Hero events.