Sydney WorldPride has responded to criticism of the ticket prices of events during the upcoming summer 2023 mega-festival.
The city is preparing to host WorldPride next year, for the first time in the southern hemisphere, bringing together locals and visitors in a “global family reunion” post-Covid.
WorldPride will coincide with the 45th Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras festival, from February 17 to March 5 next year. The festival will also take over Sydney with new events, including new concerts, parties, marches, and First Nations events.
But while key WorldPride events are free, those who wish to go to multiple ticketed events faced a steep price tag this week.
Sydney activist group Pride in Protest took aim at the cost of WorldPride’s major three-day human rights conference next summer.
Three-day passes to the conference start at $1497 for general admission, $1797 for government and corporate tickets, and $747 for attendees associated with a community organisation, prices in line with similar events.
But Pride in Protest said the organisers of WorldPride “have completely locked out the LGBTIQ community with their insane prices of their Human Rights Conference.”
“This is another example of corporatised influence, and barring working class people from attending,” the group said.
“The WorldPride website, insultingly, describes this conference as ‘for all of us’, despite a ticket price of $1497.
“The ticket price for corporations is only a small amount more than that, despite the fact that corporations’ wealth in this country vastly outweighs personal wealth.”
Pride in Protest have announced plans for their own International Queer Liberation Conference and protest marches next summer.
Sydney WorldPride responds to ticket price backlash
Sydney WorldPride Chief Operating Officer Gabriel Pinkstone said concessions are available for Indigenous attendees at $49 a day as well as people experiencing financial hardship via application.
“As a not-for-profit organisation, we feel a great deal of responsibility to deliver for the global rainbow community,” she said.
“From the outset built-in access programs for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, people on concessions or experiencing financial hardship, community organisations and a scholarship program.
“We also intend to make most of the Conference available to watch for free anywhere in the world online.”
Pinkstone added, “The Human Rights Conference ticket income does not cover the cost of staging the event. We are reliant on government and corporate partners to make the Conference happen.
She said WorldPride has “heard the community feedback that some of the ticket prices are out of reach for people that want to attend” and said organisers “will have a solution to address this by August.”
People can also participate in the festival for free, with free entry to major events including Mardi Gras Parade, Mardi Gras Fair Day, Pride March and Pride Villages including an Oxford Street party.
Pinkstone added tickets to only 11 of the expected 300 or more WorldPride events went on sale this week.
Organisers will later this year announce a further 60 arts events and 20 sports events happening across greater Sydney for the festival.
“We are doing everything we can to make Sydney WorldPride is the global family reunion LGBTQIA+ people deserve, whilst also contributing to re-opening Sydney to the world,” Pinkstone said.
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