Jul01

Let’s work together: Our Mardi Gras needs us

CREATED ON // Tuesday, 01 July 2014 Written by // Peter Urmson

Whilst I know many who have tried to make Mardi Gras a success, and those who are passionate about Sydney Mardi Gras, are angry the board has reported a loss in revenue, we still need to support it.

We need to support those who make the parade and festival shine.

In its history it has had highs and lows. This is just a low point and we need to lift it back up.

That is the real test of strength in who we are.

Throwing in the towel is not the answer. Going for smaller less relevant parties is folly. It has been strong in the recent past and it can be in the near future.

But it will need a new fresh bold vision. Not rehashing a 90s recipe.

Mardi Gras is as relevant and important today as it has ever been. It needs to connect with today’s younger audiences and educate of its past. We still have much to fight for, we are not equal in the eyes of many, we still have issues of homophobia, health and opportunity.

Gen Ys and Zs thrive on uniqueness and quality events with clarity of message. They are smart, they are educated and they have travelled. They know what they want. They, like most, will get behind something if they understand what it stands for and agree with that proposition.

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Mardi Gras plays an important role in communicating our communities’ messages to the wider world. It’s not just about profitable parties. That said, solid fiscal controls, vision, strategy and commercial management need to come back as front of mind alongside its unique proposition celebrating inclusiveness and diversity.

I salute all those involved, and in particular the volunteers and staff. It’s a thankless role heading the organisation, and I am glad people are still sticking their hands up to contribute. We need people to continue to do that, and for the right reasons. This should be supported and encouraged.

I would advocate that if people think they can do a better job then step up, or shut up - our Mardi Gras needs you.

Let’s work together to turn this around, not fight each other about who is to blame.

The dust is settling and clear air beckons sensible, experienced and in particular, new minds, to prevail.

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Peter Urmson

Peter Urmson

Peter Urmson is a former co-chair of Sydney Mardi Gras.

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