Due to significant financial impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic, the Sydney Swans are surrendering their lease over the Royal Hall of Industries (RHI) which once proudly hosted the Mardi Gras After Party.
The RHI had been leased to the Sydney Swans by the NSW Government in August last year with plans for a $65 million redevelopment of both the Hordern Pavilion and the RHI for new training and administration facilities.
As a result, the RHI could not be used for the 2020 Mardi Gras After Party due to it being under redevelopment, prompting party organisers to fill the surrounding Entertainment Quarter – which didn’t exactly go well.
However, the multipurpose space was promised to be available to Mardi Gras from 2021 onwards.
Sydney Swans chairman, Andrew Pridham, said in an open letter that due to financial uncertainty from the COVID-19 pandemic, the Swans would be surrendering their lease and pausing their proposed redevelopments of the RHI for the foreseeable future.
“As a consequence of the financial uncertainty relating to COVID-19, we have made the decision to surrender our lease over the RHI,” he said.
“We are hopeful that in the future we can re-engage with the owner of the RHI, the Centennial Park and Moore Park Trust (CPMPT), to undertake this project.
“However, at this time of considerable uncertainty it would not be prudent to be obligated to continue with a project of such scale and subsequent cost. We thank the NSW and Federal Government’s for their significant ongoing support.”
Since the early 80s, the Hall of Industries was a key-stone venue for the Mardi Gras After Party, making community-members see the NSW Government’s decision to lease the RHI as a collective loss of heritage.
A Mardi Gras spokesperson of Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras told Star Observer that while they cannot comment on their next plans of action from here, they would ensure Sydney’s LGBTQI community was at the forefront for future festival planning.
“We have begun making enquiries but at this stage, it’s too early to comment on how this might impact Mardi Gras 2021 and beyond,” the Board said.
“We’re planning to engage widely with our community about planning for next festival season, welcoming input about what they want from the Mardi Gras Party, Parade and festival into the future.
“It is vital we seek their views and reflect what our community wants.”