A return to members-only ticketing is one of a raft of ideas under consideration by New Mardi Gras (NMG).

Around 60 people filled Heffron Hall on Saturday to offer ideas and feedback after this year’s Sleaze Ball, billed as possibly the last, sold only 4000 tickets.

The idea of returning to a members-only ticketing model was raised during wider discussions around changes to the membership model.

“The current model involves members getting a range of benefits which include discounted tickets, and we’re looking at where we can introduce new benefits,” NMG CEO Michael Rolik told Sydney Star Observer.

“One idea is that we set up something with retailers where you get a discount if you show your membership card.

“But another thing that came up was that, in years gone by, you actually had to be a member of the company to buy tickets to many of the events, unlike today where anyone can buy a ticket.

“When we looked at that it was pretty clear by doing that we’d get more people engaged who’d want to belong to the organisation, buy tickets and be part of it.

“There’s income that comes from having more members, just as a volume thing, whereas the current model has limits to the number of members you can realistically get.”

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NMG is also considering rasing funds from the parade itself, through ideas such as food and drink stalls and additional ticketed seating.

“We’re looking at the entire parade route and what additional experiences we can create for people who really come to view the parade,” Rolik said.

“Some people will want the complete treatment, while others will be happy with access to a toilet and coffee machine and basic seating. It’s just one thing we’d explore and we’d obviously have dialogue with our current partners in that.”

Rolik said there had also been discussion around changing dates and venues for NMG’s existing parties.

“It’s not on the cards for this year, but it’s something we’ll seriously look at. When it was raised in the meeting no-one who put their hand up was violently against it, and at the same time there was caution, but I could see people were thinking ‘that could be something’.”

Rolik said the forum had been an opportunity for the organisation to be frank about the realities they worked under and that had shown in the quality of the ideas and feedback they got back.

“We disclosed more than we’ve ever done about the challenges we face and the market we operate in and why we’re here- the benefit back to the community groups,” he said.

“If we’re successful and our events are successful then that means we do have a parade and people get their messages out — which is what the parade is all about.”

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