Following multiple complaints and an investigation by Fair Trading NSW, The Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras (SGLMG) has begun attempts to compensate the 10,000 ticket holders who registered a complaint with this year’s Mardi Gras After Party.

However, some are still unhappy with the proposed compensation of complimentary 2021 Mardi Gras After Party tickets, believing that Mardi Gras is refusing to properly own up to their serious mistakes.

Thousands of attendees who paid up to $300 for a ticket were barred from entering the Hordern Pavilion after the Mardi Gras Parade, where international pop-icons Dua Lipa, Sam Smith, Kesha, and Pablo Vittar all performed their shows.

Although the party site, which included Max Watts, PJ Gallagher’s and several other smaller venues could arguably accommodate a 10,000 strong crowd, the Hordern Pavilion only has 5500 capacity.


As a result, ticketholders feel that they had been misled by the Party promotion, believing their ticket guaranteed they would see the guest performers.

The SGLMG Board has since been working with the NSW Commissioner for Fair Trading to rectify the situation, promising complimentary tickets for the 2021 Mardi Gras After Party to those who formally complained.

“Mardi Gras and its Board are truly sorry and apologise for those experiences, which were unacceptable and must never occur again,” the SGLMG said in a recent response issued from Ticketek.

“Mardi Gras has been working with the NSW Commissioner for Fair Trading to investigate various ways of compensating people who made complaints about their experience, given that it would not be financially viable for us as a not-for-profit to provide refunds.

“Therefore, we are pleased to announce that as a goodwill gesture, Mardi Gras will provide complimentary tickets for the 2021 Mardi Gras after-party to those people who formally registered complaints on this matter with Ticketek, Mardi Gras and Fair Trading NSW before Friday 20 March 2020.

“Eligible people, who did not receive any other form of compensation, will receive the same number of tickets as they purchased this year.

“Mardi Gras should reflect what our members and our community want in a fast-changing world – whether it’s our party or festival events, causes, campaigns, grants or partnerships.”


However, some individuals including ticket buyer, Leon, feel that this attempt at compensation seems to be a band-aid solution for a much more insidious issue.

“After my experience of this year, I wouldn’t want to attend the Mardi Gras After party again,” they told Star Observer. 

“They really exposed themselves as purely for profit and no consideration for the local community or the international visitors.

“The organisers fully knew that they were stealing money from us, when they oversold the event.

“I feel that the offer itself is very weak, like their apology after the event.”


Leon also noted that this compensation-attempt includes deliberate limits, and remains unhappy with Mardi Gras’ efforts to continue disguising their operations as ‘not-for-profit.’

“The reason for not giving a refund ‘not be financially viable for us as a not-for-profit to provide refunds,’ doesn’t sound right since the after-party is a purely-for-profit commercial event charging around $300 per ticket,” they said

“The offer is also very limited, only to those that complained prior to Friday 20 March 2020. There was no effort to contact all ticket holders that this was possible.

“The offer is on no level ‘a goodwill gesture’, it is another insult from the organisers.”

While more is still to come surrounding this compensation case, it seems the backpack is only going to get heavier as this battle continues to move uphill.

The Mardi Gras Board were contacted for comment but say they currently have no further updates on the matter.

The team here at Star Observer would love to hear your opinions about the matter and invites those currently seeking compensation to contact us with their personal stories, questions or comments.


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