In 2020, the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras organisation was forced to apologise after thousands of after-party ticket holders – who paid between $200 and $270 – were forced to miss headline acts due to the Hordern reaching its capacity of 5500 people.
“Ever since the after-party began to bring in big international acts, it’s suffered from being too exclusive and not an event that can accommodate the whole community,” said Paddington resident Ben Blackburn.
“If it wasn’t the escalating ticket prices, it was the vanishing ticket availability, and if you were lucky enough to get a ticket you still weren’t guaranteed to be able to get into the Hordern itself.”
A potential move of the after-party to the Sydney Football Stadium would “make the event more equitable – and just like the Domain parties of WorldPride, more fun”, said Blackburn, who is also supportive of the other proposed changes to how the Sydney Football Stadium operates.
While events at Sydney Football Stadium and the Sydney Cricket Ground have been a point of contention for residents worried about noise and traffic, Minns earlier this month sent a blunt message to opponents of the change that the precinct belongs to the city, not to them.
“If Sydney, which is a city of millions of people with a vibrant and active nightlife with many, many young people, it’s going to be active and have an energy to it, and it can’t act like the town from Footloose where we try and stop all activity after dark,” he said.
“Living closer to the city in a global city like Sydney does mean that you have to accommodate venues like this.
“What that means, if you [live] close to the CBD, is that if you have a major sporting event or fixture next to your home that it belongs to the people of NSW. It’s not your own personal fiefdom. It’s not your own personal backyard.”
At the time of Minns’ comments, Paddington resident Harry said he bought his house nine years ago on the basis there would only be four concerts a year. “All of a sudden they’re going to terrorise us,” he told this masthead. “I’m in my 70s now and there’s no parking around; they park illegally.”
But neighbour Kate said she was surprised there weren’t more concerts at the venue. “We heard Bruno Mars,” she said. “The windows do shake, but I haven’t really minded at all. We get a lot of people saying how lucky we are to live so close. It is pretty cool.”
Disclosure: Reporter Ben Grubb is a paying member of Mardi Gras.
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