SYDNEY Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras board members have confirmed that there will be no Harbour Party featured in the 2016 festival line-up.
[showads ad=MREC]In a statement released earlier today, board members said: “We will be retiring the traditional Harbour Party event and it will not feature in the 2016 season”.
The news comes just weeks after Mardi Gras announced a $336,057 loss at the end of a 15-month financial year ending June 30.
At the time, the Star Observer asked if any aspect of the 2016 festival would be reduced or cut, to which Mardi Gras responded: “The new season will… increase in the number of events.”
In the statement circulated today, Mardi Gras board members said the decision to remove the Harbour Party from its 2016 festival line-up came after “examining all aspects” of its programming to ensure it all remained “relevant, fresh and inclusive across the whole community”.
“In recognition of the work of our community’s diverse and talented industry party operators, and to create a more inclusive community focused festival, and recognising the success of our co-produced events we are now including independent party events to the festival programme,” the board members said.
“This is a significant shift from our traditional approach and we believe that, in a tough commercial and licensing environment we must do our part to ensure our community continues to thrive in all its fabulousness.
“As part of this shift we also recognise that some of our traditional programme events need to evolve, and be more community inclusive.”
Replacing the party at the Fleet Steps on Sydney’s harbour foreshores will be a new collection of events.
The board members stated that new collection of events will be announced at the Mardi Gras program launch on November 19.
The Harbour Party had been dogged with controversy in the past couple of years. In 2014, partygoers took to social media in droves to complain that music at the open-air event was too “laid back” and that sound levels were so low that, in some areas, the music couldn’t be heard at all.
Meanwhile, ahead of ticket sales for the 2015 party, IT problems led to some of Mardi Gras members missing out on cut-price tickets before the general release.
The 2015 event was also scaled down in size, notably with a smaller stage, to address some of the budget blowout issues from the end of the 2014 financial year.
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PHOTOS: Harbour Party 2015 (part V)