The Brag Media
News March 2, 2020

Mardi Gras ticketing blunder leaves punters without party

Former Assistant Editor
Mardi Gras ticketing blunder leaves punters without party

Sydney’s annual Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras is world-renowned, but many revellers were left out in the cold after Saturday’s official afterparty was oversold.

The official post-parade event at the Moore Park Entertainment Quarter’s Hordern Pavilion was headlined by Dua Lipa, Sam Smith and Kesha, billed as a “holy trio” by organisers.

However, it soon became clear that not all punters were going to make it in for those performers, with many taking to Twitter and Facebook on the evening to complain about long lines snaking around the venue.

ABC reports that around 10,000 tickets were sold, even though the venue has a capacity of 5,500 people, with tickets sold prior for between $200 and $270.

“The event opened at 10 and we literally got here at like 11 and lined up for the main stage and now it’s 1:30 am and Dua Lipa is playing and we are still in line,” tweeted one would-be attendee.

The event usually takes place at the Royal Hall of Industries, something that organisers pointed to when issuing an apology on Sunday.

In a message to ticketholders and on the official event Facebook page, the Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras organisers said they were “deeply disappointed” after hearing about “extended waiting times to get into the Hordern Pavilion when it reached capacity.

“It’s no secret that this year we lost the Royal Hall of Industries as a venue for the annual Mardi Gras Party. We recognise significant changes are required for the smaller party footprint to be successful,” the statement continued, without addressing the issue of overselling the event.

“After exploring a range of other options across the city, it was determined the Hordern Pavilion and surrounding areas were still the best venue for The Party. There just isn’t another inner city space that is big enough for our audience that would allow an all-night dance party.”

But pointing out that they had “provided big screens in outside areas so the shows could be seen and heard by as many partygoers as possible” did little to placate many punters who bought tickets and expected to be able to attend the venue.

“Truth is that you guys knew that you only can fit 6000 people while you sold 11000 tickets. Just admit and say it and what you should do now is giving a refund to everyone,” replied one person.

“As a Sydney local who has always been so proud, I sincerely apologize to you all. I feel so embarrassed,” said another.

A spokesperson for the event told the ABC they were not able to comment on whether refunds would be considered.

The parade was another huge success, with thousands turning out to watch and march, and many more tuning in on SBS.

Split into two parts for OzTam’s TV ratings, the official broadcast drew 392,000 viewers nationally for part one, and another 283,000 for the second part.

Unsurprisingly it was most popular in Sydney, with numbers topping out at 135,000 viewers. The second most-watched city was Brisbane where a maximum of 59,000 tuned in.

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