Tickets are racing out the door for the June long weekend Hand In Hand party with the news that the 2002 fundraiser will be the last of its kind.

ACON president Adrian Lovney said that while the organisation was reluctant to cancel this premier event, the reality is that ACON cannot afford the hefty public liability insurance on an event of this stature. For 12 years, Hand In Hand has been our major fundraiser to support services for people living with HIV/AIDS, the gay and lesbian community and smaller community groups, Lovney said. The insurance hike would have a real impact on our ability to support these smaller groups with community disbursements.

Hand In Hand producer David Wilkins said he was saddened to say goodbye to his favourite party. ACON’s insurance policy expires on 30 June 2002, Wilkins confided, so while we’re covered for this year, negotiating for the future will give us a figure of between $50,000 and $70,000. That’s basically the equivalent of more than the Fox fees and the lighting and sound put together. It’s completely untenable.

It’s been around for such a long time, he reminisced. It’s one of the survivors of the early 90s dance party era. It’ll be poignant at 8am when the last song is played, I think.

Hand In Hand is on Saturday 8 June at the Hordern Pavilion and the Dome at Fox Studios. Tickets are $75 and $40 (concession available only from ACON) at the Toolsheds at Taylor Square and 81 Oxford Street, Darlinghurst, or from

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