Mardi Gras apologises for overcrowded afterparty


sydney gay and lesbian mardi gras
Photo: Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras

Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras has been slammed by thousands of angry punters locked out of the official afterparty on Saturday night.

Mardi Gras organisers issued an apology after thousands queued for hours and many missed the headliners when the venue reached full capacity.

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Major overseas acts Sam Smith, Dua Lipa and Kesha headlined this year’s Mardi Gras Party.

It’s understood Mardi Gras sold more than 10,000 tickets for the event. However, the Hordern Pavilion venue could only fit around 5,500 people. The nearby Royal Hall of Industries, usually open for the event, was closed due to renovations.

Frustrated punters who missed out took to social media to demand refunds after the “poorly managed” event.

“The event organisers for the afterparty failed miserably. The line-up to get into the pavilion didn’t move all night,” one ticketholder wrote on Facebook.

“Thousands outside who paid (around $200) for a ticket [had to] watch performances on TV screens.”

“Either reduce ticket numbers or get a bigger venue… it was crap and poorly managed.”

Another wrote, “I DID NOT spend over $200 to wait in a line for hours when you KNEW this would happen, not good enough.”

“We literally got here at like 11 and lined up for the main stage. Now it’s 1.30 am and Dua Lipa is playing and we are still in line,” another punter wrote.

“Pay $225 for a ticket and this is what we get? Where’s our refund?”

Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras issues apology after outrage

In a statement, Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras said they were “deeply disappointed and apologise” for the 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,” they said.

“We recognise significant changes are required for the smaller party footprint to be successful.

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“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.

“We’ve received some valuable feedback this year, which will help us continue to develop and evolve the Party experience.”

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