Later this year, the key fundraising event for Mardi Gras - the iconic Sleaze Ball will take on a slightly different format, taking place at the Entertainment Quarter, including venues such as the Forum and Dome.
In a prepared statement, NMG stated "The decision not to engage the Hordern Pavillion this year allows NMG better ability to fundraise and to keep our high production standards. It also allows us to lower prices across all ticket types, and to reintroduce our policy of two tickets per member."
Removal of the Hordern as a preferred venue was brought to question by community members on social networking websites, whilst the organisation was in the midst of its Parade Consultation event "It's Your Parade".
Comments also surfaced to the effect that the venue had not been booked in a similar debacle, and possibly by the same staff that made the mistakes that rendered the parade and party split for last years festival.
Although community speculation still remains, the organisation stated "Despite the long-standing booking with the Hordern and a history of having several days either side to produce Sleaze, the owners accepted a rival production taking place the following night in the same venue."
“The issue of leaving the Hordern this year was unfortunate, but we found ourselves in the position of having to make a choice,” said Nick Parker, Co-Chair of NMG.
“Faced with the options of a restricted and more expensive party, or a shift to a different part of our usual footprint that allowed us to raise more funds, increase accessibility for our communities through lower pricing and put more into the event creatively – the decision was clear.”
“In the end we remain on the same general footprint as every year, except we can now lower prices, enjoy multiple venues and explore innovative ways to produce the high quality event Sleaze Ball deserves to be. Our booking at the Hordern remains in place for next year, at which point we can re-evaluate.”
NMG has had massive trouble re-engaging the community since the troubled events of last year - but it has been shown that the current board and its staff and volunteers are trying everything possible to engage the community, media and stakeholders to ensure that the event is profitable, delivers unique and interesting events and continues to represent the community as a whole.
What do you think of the events at hand and the decision to remove the Hordern from the party footprint? What would you like to see instead?