Okay, I am in a state of shock. I almost fell off my chair the other week when I read in SSO that New Mardi Gras chair Marcus Bourget said he struggled to understand why he gave up so much of his time when the organisation failed to attract the level of government funding he felt it deserved.

But I decided to let it slide – after all, he was probably just throwing a Dorothy Dixer out there to try and shame our pollies into opening their wallets.

But then I found out tickets for this year’s party are $150 – and I lost it completely. I cannot remain silent any longer.

I have always been of the understanding that Mardi Gras was about the struggle for equality and recognition and a celebration of our community’s achievements. But it appears to me it is now becoming more about money and profit.

I don’t know about you but, with Christmas, New Year and a string of birthdays just gone, Valentine’s Day and another string of birthdays on the way, my wallet is getting pretty thin.

Surely New Mardi Gras can take actions to reduce the cost of the ticket price? I am sure there are plenty in the community willing to forgo a few luxuries in order to afford a ticket to the biggest party of the year.

Here are my suggestions: Perhaps NMG could put just one float, rather than five, in the parade. That could save about $40K by my reckoning, taking into account the cost of truck, generator, lights and sound system hire.

Perhaps one less show and a few less lights at the party – that could also cut a significant chunk from the budget.

And the fireworks on the parade route – though very pretty – could also go and slash $20K from the budget.

Slashing the ticket price would make the party more accessible to all in our community – not just those who have plenty of spare cash to throw around.

Taking some of these mirror ball elements away would also help get the parade back to its roots – something we obviously need to do given the recent spate of violence on Oxford St.

You can still have plenty of razzle dazzle – both for the parade and the party – while being financially conscious of those who aren’t flush with funds.

My advice to New Mardi Gras is to either bite the bullet and become a fully-fledged events company where profit is king, or take a step back and reflect on the roots of the event.

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