Mardi Gras to split parade and party

Mardi Gras to split parade and party

The Mardi Gras parade and official after-party will be held on different weekends in 2010.

Next year’s parade will be held on February 27, while the party will be held on March 6. Fair Day will be held on 21 February and Harbour Party on 28 February.

The festival will also be cut back to two weeks.

New Mardi Gras CEO Anna McInerney said the decision to split the parade and party was an evolutionary one.

We’ve looked at how other major festival-type events are produced around the world and one of the clear lessons is that they run as a series of parties, she said in an official statement.

Rio and New Orleans are not just a single parade ­-” though they have that as their core. They encompass many small parades and parties and go on for days. That is what we want to bring to Sydney at Mardi Gras and in particular that final week.

The 2010 season theme, Mardi Gras’ History of the World, will be an exploration of gay people’s stories through the ages and a queer take on some of the great moments and figures of history.

Festival executive producer Danielle Harvey said the decision to further cut the festival back, now to two weeks, was also based on other international events.

A review of major arts festivals around the world showed they were typically two-week festivals, she said.

By moving to two weeks we will be able to create a much more impactful experience for both local and international audiences.

NMG chair David Imrie said the changes to the festival would continue to make it one of the best in the world.

Mardi Gras has already evolved out of all recognition from the 1978 march to become a major arts festival, party promoter and world-famous event, he said.

This would not have been possible without flexibility and creativity in how we program. A good example was the move to a summer parade. If that hadn’t happened the event would never have grown to the stature it has.

Have your say: Should the parade and party be held on different weekends?

Vote now in our online poll.

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117 responses to “Mardi Gras to split parade and party”

  1. thank god! we’re from the Goldcoast, come down every year and like all non sydneysiders find we miss out. two weeks is a norm for most of us to have off each year to celebrate our mardigras and let our hair down too. seems most people who complain are locals who have forgoten that its not about you, but us, and all the other gay guys who dont live on the doorstep!

  2. I actually like the idea… 2 big parties over two weeks!… It will benefit the community, as instead of going to MG party after the parade, people will stay on the scene, or support things like homesexual… it’s two costumes, so local retailers win as well.. and we all win, by getting to go out and freely enjoy our sexuality two days a year rather than the one we currently get.

    Great Work David, Kudos!

  3. As someone from overseas I think they have done the right thing: At this years NMG we haven’t had the chance to watch the parade with any of our Sydney friends as ALL of them had to ‘powder their noses’ already for the BIG NIGHT instead. So I guess it’s a great chance to get a certain part of the community back ON THE STREET, for what this overall festival purpose stands for, am I right? Well done NMG and 12 points from Europe for this move!

  4. Lovely personal attacks on David Imrie people. Jealous perhaps? Don’t forget that Mardi Gras has a board of eight and a staff as well who are all involved in the decision making process. And also don’t forget that that same group of people just delivered the best Mardi Gras in years and years. Have some faith. I for one am happy that the party is a week after the parade, so i can rest my aching feet and finally go to a party and enjoy it.

  5. The commercial and heritage impact of splitting the parade and party doesn’t really bother me.
    We’ll get over that soon enough and either embrace it or revert to the original format.
    My only concern in is that there will now be 2 weekends in which drugs and alcohol will damage so many people in our community.
    But as a plus, the hospitals, medical centres, police, and later the NSW court system and lawyers, will be able to earn a lot more money; dealing with the consequences of possssion, trafficking, drink driving and many other offences, not just for one week, but for two.
    Who said New Mardi Gras didn’t have a social conscience?
    They want to stimulate the economies of health and legal industries.

  6. The Mardi Gras format is unique to Sydney. If you split it up, be prepared for a lot of fallout. Mardi Gras is watched by millions globally ( i have friends in London and The States) and the parade and after party are legendary. Don’t cut corners, cut floors. Did anyone really go through this with a fine financial tooth comb? I doubt it. Melbourne has lost all of its parties because out volunteer gene pool just dried up. I was a Melbourne DJ for many years (1978-1995) and i miss our Melbourne parties so much. There must be another alternative! Fred Nile is gonna milk this backflip for all it’s worth. This is a big big mistake. Andrew Peter Collins, Melbourne.

  7. Who in the Mardi Gras has been watching Mel Brooks’ movies ? History of the World ?? Will this be Part 1 or Part whatever ?? What a stupid idea for a theme – will there be tortured souls on display ?

    As for the splitting up of the party and parade – again – whom was the bright spark with this idea ? You drag people into the city to see the parade, and then tell them you need to go home and come back next weekend. What is the point ? And what about those tourists whom come specifically for the parade and the party ? Is the MG simply just going to dump the parade crowd at the Moore Park area and say nick off ? The exhilaration of the parade will not be replicated at some poor week later dance party. That the After Party itself has lost its ‘soul’ and is more about making money from overpriced tickets and drinks makes me think its time to move on. The party is well and truely over.

  8. What a waste of time! The parade and party are watched and attended by millions globally. I watch it on Foxtel down here in Melbourne if i can’t make it up to Sydney. People don’t have the money thay used to have. If money is the real problem, cut the funding elsewhere. Fred bloody Nile is gonna milk this for all it’s worth. Big Big Mistake. Andrew Peter Collins, Melbourne.

  9. Mardi Gras has just betrayed its community for making such a huge decision without asking its people

  10. so we have heard what people really think so far.It’s not good for Mardi Gras is it? Once the e-mails do the rounds at NMG this page will suddenly get flooded with positive praise for mardi gras’s decision, all of course written by NMG.

    its amazing what the board members will do to blow smoke up there own arse and the sad thing is they believe what they write about themselves.

    No one really belives that this was done with the community’s best interests at heart. Not long til the AGM. it’s time for a change and preferably a co-chair that is more qualified than a real estate agent.

  11. A two week festival? Now this will mean that we don’t get to go to as many events because of clashes in times! (will i go to the bushdance or the film fest? will i go the same sex dance spectacular or a play?) Boooo! Booo! for the cut down festival!

  12. I’m extremely curious on how this will turn out.. either way the results will surprise us in one way or another.

    I was reading some articles about this news and they made these changes after doing some surveys and some results were that people were tired due to the long hours of waiting.. so maybe it’s not so bad that it’s separated.. so people can rest up and ready themselves for the next event.

  13. Andrew,

    Thats nice to hear that Mardi Gras members found out this morning. the same day as the press release. was there any consultation with the members? i doubt it. The board of mardi gras couldn’t organise there way out of a paper bag all they care about is how many ‘AAA’ passes they get. Its the members and voulunteers who put in the work that i feel sorry for. The numbers for the parade and party get smaller not bigger so to diminish numbers from interstate and overseas would be suicide for mardi gras. nothing ventured nothing gained…… said the captain of the Titanic.

  14. Wow another change. What do I pay a membership fee for. Voting or to sit back and just take what is dished out . Next year are you going to announce that the Festival season will be just a week. We always look forward to the party after the Parade. Is so now after the parade we all now go to the night clubs and maybe we will al have a great time and think oh bugger the Party we have had out fun. It could backfire!!!!!
    It seems like you are grasping at the last straws to try and keep it all afloat.
    Who knows you might even try a parade in one state and the party in another.
    I know these can be tough times but 4 weeks was always suitable to see the shows the films, theatre etc. Might be alright if you can have 2 weeks to cram it all in, I own my own business and with the functions over 4 weeks you could budget and work it all in. Now only 2 weeks to do everything… mmm Maybe I should look at doing something else over that period.
    But overall it would be nice as a MEMBER to be contacted about these matters and voting after all are you not representing us???
    I could write more but it will probably fall on deaf ears.

  15. Diane,
    Mardi Gras Members were sent an email this morning!!
    The change was on the cards. While it MAY diminish some numbers from overseas and interstate by splitting the parade and party – nothing ventured nothing gained!

  16. Who does David Imrie think he is? King of Oxford street?

    Has he forgotten the community he represents and the pain we went through to keep this organisation alive? Don’t we, the members and volunteers who work tirelessly every year to keep this a community event deserve a say?

    I thought Mardi Gras was supposed to keep getting bigger and better, this is just condensing it and is a blatant grab for more money from not one but three events conveniently staged on three weekends. Next we will be charged to watch the parade. (oh thats right, you had to on foxtel this year)

    BLAH…. I hope David knows what he is doing and getting advice from those people who actually know this organisation and community.

    More time talking to the real Community David, and less time in the sponsor VIP parties, Kylie concerts and dance clubs. You are fast becoming the worst President/Chair in “Mardi Gras’ history of the world”.

  17. I agree with Ian, i usually fly in on the friday evening and stay til Sunday night. It’s not worth it just for the parade and to fly in to go to just the party. i don’t think so, Same music, Same Venue, Same performances. I will stick with Melbourne.

  18. I think we should suck it and see. If it turns out to be benefical to the GLBT community everyone will be praising them instead of jumping on the bandwagon. I also worry about the parade. If people get to the end and then feel a lull of what or where to from here Mardi Gras will fizzle out. But as they say change is good. Major events have always had an opening and a closing. The after party should be the closing. I just hope MG organise someone who is well known and liked by the Gay community. Tina Arena is not that person. Good luck MG and I hope it goes well for you.

  19. Oh Mardi Gras, what have you done?? without the Party afterwards the gays will stay well away from the parade so lets rebrand it to make all the westie spectators feel at home. how about Bogan Pride? thinking outside the box is great but this time i think you have thought with your bank balance firt. Change it before it back fires because there is no way it will work. how many gay Parties at the EQ have failed? no one likes it there and without the tourists after the parade buying tickets your screwed.

  20. Cutting the festival down to 2 weeks is a great idea, allot more people will come and experience it all. Whoever decided to separate the party from the parade must have rocks in their head. It defeats the whole purpose of the day and dilutes the excitement of it all. Sticking the Harbour Party the next day is a desparate attempt by NMG to make money on something that flopped this year. Look like 2010 could be the last Mardi Gras.

  21. Mardi Gras “weekend” in Sydney is packed with people from overseas and interstate coming for the parade and party. Surely splitting them NMG are going to lose a huge number of patrons. who will want to come to sydney just for the usual sterile party at Fox? without the parade before, it just becomes another ‘Sleaze ball party’ which no one really goes to anyway.

  22. Hummm Midsumma in Melbourne has done the same thing and has cut back the festival to two weeks… which will make it more compact as well. BUT it finnishes on the Sunday with the Pride March in St kilda which ends with a 5 hour beach side free concert/party for everyone, so hopefully MG will offer something simular at the end of the parade!

  23. I think it’s a great move. Three big weekends in a row! I haven’t been to the parade for five years because I’ve been at home resting and getting ready for the party. Now I will be able to go to both. Well done Mardi Gras!

  24. If more people went to cultural events and not just the places where they can be drug pigs then the festival probably would be longer.

    I couldn’t care less if the party is on a different Saturday to the parade. It’s actually a fabulous opportunity for lots of smaller promoters to put up events for parade night.

  25. There is something really amazing about heading to the party after the excitment of the parade……I would hope that this excitment build up is not lost with a 7 day stint in between.

  26. So we have gone from four weeks to three weeks to two weeks …
    And now we are splitting the party and the parade.
    I wonder if people have been asked about this – genuinely asked – or if this is just another decision made by the board?
    Remember the BGF Glamstand debacle last year.

    Oh, and as a member I am yet to be advised of this change …. wonder when they will bother telling us.

  27. Well it is good they are trying different things … will wait and see how it works before I get on my soapbox

  28. You’ve got to be bloody joking?
    Sounds like Mardi Gras is desperate to make that lame duck Harbour Party profitable – but are they prepared to do it at the expense of the official party – which is the only thing that makes money for them?
    Let’s hope this gamble pays off – or we might not have a Mardi Gras again …

  29. Knowing New Mardi Gras and their game of ‘lets make money’, Im left asking – how much more money will this make them. It certainly wont be about benefiting the community or they would have put the idea out in the community arena and asking for feedback before making this decision!