The New Mardi Gras board will meet this week to discuss what form next year’s Mardi Gras season will take after Sleaze ticket sales failed to live up to expectations.

Around 6,500 tickets were sold to last Saturday’s Sleaze party, which is around 2,500 fewer than New Mardi Gras had hoped to sell and 3,000 fewer than they sold to last year’s party.

While a small profit was made from the party, New Mardi Gras chair Marcus Bourget said the lower than expected takings would have an effect on the 2006 festival.

We’re meeting this week to start consolidating our finances to see where we actually are, and then work out how that will impact on next year’s season, Bourget said.

When asked if there was any chance Mardi Gras might be cancelled altogether, he said the show must go on.

There will be a Mardi Gras. Mardi Gras will always go on -“ it’s too important not to have.

What form Mardi Gras takes I can’t say at this point. The board needs to sit down and look at the options and see what is realistically achievable.

Bourget wouldn’t be drawn on which events might be cancelled, although there had previously been rumours Fair Day or Launch might get the chop.

It’s not fair on the working groups to speculate at this point what we may and may not have, he said.

Despite the poor sales, Bourget said he was very happy with the way Sleaze turned out.

I think the organisers did a fantastic job. The feedback’s been excellent. It was a really friendly crowd, really good music, there was no trouble all night, the shows were fantastic.

I think it was one of the best parties New Mardi Gras has delivered.

It’s disappointing we didn’t meet our budgeted target, but we always knew it was going to be a struggle and we’re pleased to have broken even and delivered a small profit.

Entertainment highlights on the night included performances by the band Rogue Traders, singer Melissa Tkautz and a show involving gay rugby team the Sydney Convicts.

The small turnout at Sleaze has been attributed to the number of other parties on the weekend, including the sold-out Toybox at Luna Park on Sunday.

I think it’s a fair assumption that some people would have gone to Toybox rather than Sleaze. I think that’s an inescapable conclusion, Bourget said.

We couldn’t have been clearer in our communication with the community of the importance of Sleaze to Mardi Gras, but people make a choice. We have to deliver events that people want to come to. I think we did that this year and we have to keep building on that.

New Mardi Gras is encouraging people wishing to hold an event in next year’s Mardi Gras arts, sports and cultural festival to submit their applications before the 14 October deadline.

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