‘Reverse the Mardi Gras Parade’ says board candidate James Brechney

‘Reverse the Mardi Gras Parade’ says board candidate James Brechney

LAST UPDATED // Wednesday, 20 August 2014 17:38 Written by // Reg Domingo

Picture this for a moment: after marching in the world-famous Mardi Gras Parade, you don’t end up in some cultural wasteland but rather at the beating heart of Gay Sydney – Oxford Street – for a massive block party.

That’s what radio broadcaster James ‘Breko’ Brechney is suggesting.

Brechney, best known as the man who founded the DIY rainbow campaign, is running as a candidate for the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras board.

As part of his campaign, he has released a handful of suggestions to improve the organisation, dubbed ‘Breko’s 7 point plan to save Mardi Gras’.

So far, four points from the action plan has been released with the remaining three to be unveiled over the next few days.

Among them are calls for the parade to be broadcast live on national TV, urging the current SGLMG board to defer the election in the wake of the recent controversy surrounding fake memberships and a commitment to turning a profit in 2015.

But the one point proving most controversial is a suggestion of ‘reversing the parade’.

Currently, the Mardi Gras Parade begins at Hyde Park on the intersection of Oxford and College Streets. It travels along Oxford Street and Flinders Street in Darlinghurst. Then the parade snakes along the Anzac Parade busway, ending just outside the Sydney Cricket Ground, near the Entertainment Quarter in Moore Park.

“It strikes me odd that we finish the Parade at Moore Park,” Brechney said on a statement published on his website. “A lot of parade participants head home for a shower before returning to the Official SGLMG Party at the nearby Hordern Pavilion and the rest of those not interested in Party have quite a walk in front of them to find a post parade drink.

Below: The parade should go the other way, Breko says...


“If we reversed the Parade direction not only is there a lot more space to deal with the increasing numbers of floats and participants at Moore Park during bump in but you get to finish the show at the heart of LGBTQI Australia right on Oxford Street.

“Ending the night with a Castro style block party involving all venues, keeping the road closed until 11pm or Midnight and/or a party in Hyde Park South would be incredible,” he said.

Brechney said by reversing the parade, more venues and business could get involved in the festivities.

“The perceived Us versus Them mentality between SGLMG and our venues needs to stop. It's time to embrace and include those who know how to pull off great events and how to generate a profit from them.

“Imagine a Mardi Gras Party wristband that could get you into our local venues with, for example, Ricky Martin at Stonewall, Anthony Callea at the Oxford and RuPaul at Palms – heaven!”

Below: And end here ...


Brechney cited other previous suggestions of where the Parade could end, including southern end of the CBD like Darling Harbour.

“I'm realistic about what one board member can achieve and how many years it may take to get something like this to happen but we need new, fresh and exciting ideas to evolve the Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras,” he said.

“I’d be thrilled to hear your thoughts.”

Many have already taken to social media expressing their support for the idea while some have outright rejected it.

Let us know your thoughts below.

The board elections will be held at Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras annual general meeting on Saturday, August 23, at ACON, 414 Elizabeth Street, Surry Hills.

Top image: James Brechney at San Francisco Pride. Photo: Isabell Hiew


Reg Domingo

Reg Domingo

Reg Domingo is the editor of SX.

Comments (10)

  • ken oath

    29 August 2014 at 10:37 |
    Reverse will never fly due to crowd control issues and daytime parades are boring without the lights.


  • Paul

    22 August 2014 at 09:04 |
    Great idea also start the parade at 2pm


  • Rob

    22 August 2014 at 08:14 |
    If the parade finishes back in Oxford St, where are the numerous floats to be stored? Will they return to Moore Park which would be impossible via Oxford St as it has been cleared, which takes some time. I doubt that the various government groups that co-ordinate the traffic and cleaning up would even consider it as there would be heavy congestion in the Liverpool & Oxford St areas. I am just being practical. Sometimes good ideas aren't thought through to the logical end.


  • Sean

    22 August 2014 at 08:07 |
    Such a fantastic idea, I marched with the Bingham boys this year and it was my first time marching. It was a great experience however I really felt a huge anti climax when we got to the end. We weren't very organised admittedly but when we got back to oxford street it was absolute chaos and was hard to get in anywhere, we all ended up going to a little bar down Crown st. This would be such a good idea for all involved in the parade and for local business. Even if the bars and clubs had pop up bars would be awesome and everyone partied together. Great suggestion mate.


  • Sam nandez

    21 August 2014 at 11:14 |
    Yes!!!! Reverse the parade! One of the biggest problems with Oxford st on Marsi Gras is that bit between the parade ending and the point at which we stopped actually seeing the parade. It's quite the downer after such a high to just suddenly have everything stop. I say this as someone who has worked stonewall on mardi gras and been a viewer for the last 9 years. Daytime parade I dunno.. It's nice that it ends in the twilight but definitely reverse!!


  • LISA

    20 August 2014 at 18:08 |
    Love the idea above about holding the parade in the daytime - otherwise the 'reverse parade', while great in theory, would leave Oxford Street empty until late in the evening?


  • queenie

    20 August 2014 at 17:57 |
    Much smarter idea. End the festival in our heartland!!! Embrace our diversity and the community should pull together to make this event an absolute show stopper not ending in some park!!!


  • Mark Lowe

    20 August 2014 at 17:29 |
    I just came from World Pride in Toronto CA. It was huge, the parade went for 5 hours, obviously a bit long, but was World Pride. The big differences there, and not just for World Pride, as I had researched it from the before, is that it's on a Sunday, it's run during the day from 2PM and 2 main streets in TO are blocked off, being Church St (the gay St) for the parade to Que up, and Yonge St for the parade to come back down, as well as a bunch of side streets including Bloore St which connected Church and Yonge. After the parade, Yonge remained blocked til I have no idea what time, but was am Monday, and Church was a huge street party, car parks which we don't have, but small and large parks which we do, for after parties, and all the venues got into it. There's my experience, which I wanted to tell someone about, and now I have. I believe the website for Toronto World Pride is still operating, and the maps of the street closures etc are still there.


  • Kate

    20 August 2014 at 17:04 |
    I love this idea - there's been so much said about how Oxford Street's nightlife is dying and suffering, so it would be great to see local venue owners get the support of Mardi Gras by having the parade end right in the heart of gay Sydney. And who doesn't love a block party?


  • michael syd

    20 August 2014 at 16:18 |
    brilliant idea! fox is bleeding mardi gras dry with ridiculously high costs and over the top rules. this is a wonderful idea to bring the event to where it is needed and support the communitys venues. time to change or keep dying like sleaze


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