My main objective when running social nights in Western Sydney was to provide a safe place for the gay and lesbian community to go and socialise without having to venture into the city.

For 20 years I’ve been involved in many social dances/groups, but lately running them has become an issue, as numbers dwindle and the same old excuse “oh it cost too much to get in”. I don’t think people realise that providing this space and entertainment doesn’t come cheap, it may sound like the kettle calling the pot black but I’m so sick of people whining.

I listen to all feedback from patrons either in person or social network sites, but after a recent discussion with my Heaven co-coordinator, Gracie Lou, about recent negative feedback, I think I should let everyone know the facts and what exactly goes in to running these social nights.

It is understandable some are happy to socialise in straight venues given they are now more accepting out west, although this isn’t always the case. There are many who don’t necessarily share the same view as you and would like to be at a night where they are more likely to meet other LGBTI people and also feel safe away from a plethora of straight clubs/pubs and potentially volatile situations with drunk straight men.

The main issue in Western Sydney is that there are no actual gay clubs like in the city, so we rely on straight venues to hold functions like Heaven and Kaleidoscope. The problem then becomes that these venues will not pay us to be there and expect all the costs of running the night to be met by the function holder or they are not interested.

The reality is there is not a single DJ who is going to donate their time to any ongoing dance and so already there is costs to cover. Experience over the past 20 years of running or being involved with gay social nights is that the majority of patrons will not attend unless there is also entertainment. Again, this comes at a cost because there are no performers willing to continually donate their time to perform. Both DJing and performing incur costs, especially for performers as the fees paid don’t even cover their costs, so in fact most are out of pocket rather than making a profit – unless of course drag is your living, in which case their fees are higher again. The nights also make little profit because any funds left over from the night go to door prizes, the float, wrist bands, web hosting, advertising and Charities.

Any gay night in Western Sydney is going to come at a cost for its patrons. Everyone who runs one of these nights wishes there was a way around it – the only way is – no music and no entertainment and then numbers would plummet and the club would no longer allow the night to run because it would not financially be worth their while.

While the cost of getting to some Western Sydney venues may be more difficult and possibly more expensive if you are planning on drinking – then since the drinks are almost half the price in western Sydney compared to the city, so the variation in cost is fairly negligible.

There is no easy solution and if patrons choose to either venture into the city or go to a straight venue instead, then LGBTI nights in the west will no longer exist. Sad but true.

On a positive note, Heaven will be launched its brand new production show MBC In Diva Station on August 25 and it will return on October 27 at the Northmead Bowling Club, featuring a few new and old faces.

Also Kaleidoscope is on September 1 at the Parramatta Golf Club, which boasts great music, fabulous food at the bistro, fantastic atmosphere and a variety of entertainment.

Lastly, Parramatta Pride Picnic is on again at Parramatta Park (Site 23 Pavilion Flat) on Sunday, September 16 11am-4pm. This is a great day out for the entire family, with plenty of entertainment throughout the day. Also this year, Doggywood arrives with host David Graham (BB06). I might just take along my one-eyed dog and bitch daughter. See you all there!

Drag Gossip

Over the hill and not so far away a few tellyTUBBIES haven’t been coming out to play, as corsets are busting, zippers are ripped, too much tubby-tustard I think!

Until next time Georgeous! BB xxxx

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