2007 mardi gras
The 2007 Sydney 'gay and lesbian mardi gras' was held during February 2007 with the final event being the parade down Oxford Street in Sydney on Saturday 3 March.
In this report:
* Crowd numbers
* Anthony Venn-Brown and Pentecostals march in parade
Despite proclaiming on the mardi gras website that 'half a million' watch the parade each year, the organisers estimated that 350,000 people were in the crowd this year. Perhaps a reminder (from our media release) that they had to reduce the figure by 200,000 overnight last year night kept their estimates down - but they still managed to increase the figure by 50,000 people.
We know you can't fit that many people in the street: 1.6 km, 2 per metre = 3,200 per row. 10 rows on each side gives 64,000. Add 20,000 more for balconies etc gives a VERY generous total of 84,000. But there are not 10 rows for the whole length of the parade! About 60,000 would be reasonable.
By 11 pm on the parade night we had online reports of 'over half a million' from the ABC, 'hundreds of thousands' from Reuters, 'hundreds' from the BBC and 'tens of thousands' from AAP and the Sydney Morning Herald. Associated Press was quoting 350,000.
But maybe that was BEFORE they were all told the 'official' estimate by the mardi gras organisers themselves (yes, the ones who reduced the crowd suddenly by 200,000 last year!).
The organisers suddenly estimated 350,000 people were there (a figure that is now posted on their website! (The 'half a million claim is still there - on another page!)
What happened to the 'original' online reports from the various media outlets?
AAP revised their estimate to 300,000 (a bit less than the organisers). Being conservative perhaps! This figure was reported by the AAP and the Sydney Morning Herald.
But by the next morning, AAP and the Daily Telegraph had spoken to the organisers and now said there were "up to 350,000 cheering spectators".
Why the change? The report says "The mardi gras chair, Marcus Bourget, said after the parade it was one of the biggest yet in terms of participants, while crowd numbers were estimated at upwards of 300,000 to about 350,000."
So talking to the organisers meant they had changed their estimate!
Reuters and AP stuck to their original posted figures.
ABC on Sunday morning were reporting that "Organisers of this year's Mardi Gras say around 300,000". Perhaps the organisers just decided to add that extra 50,000 people when they posted their own report!
The BBC changed its report to 'hundreds of thousands' - perhaps they forgot to type the 'thousands' in the first report?
Homosexual groups reported the figures of the organisers - either 300,000 or 350,000.
At least the figure is less than the 'half a million'! But still much higher than the actual crowd! We estimate that the actual crowd is somewhere between 50,000 and 70,000.
Salt Shakers references and links:
* 2007 mardi gras media release
* Crowd estimate reduced in 2006 (Also contains calculations of the crowd number...)
mardi gras estimates....
* Mardi gras - 'half a million' - overview of mardi gras.
* Mardi gras 2007 crowd estimate.
Estimates on the night...
* The Australian
* AAP and Sydney Morning Herald
Revised estimates of crowd!
* SMH: report '300,000'
* AAP first report - 300,000
* Daily Telegraph and AAP: Second revised report: Up to 350,000.
Anthony Venn-Brown organises Pentecostals to march in mardi gras
Anthony Venn-Brown is a homosexual who runs a support group to help homosexuals who are Pentecostal 'accept their homosexuality'. The group is called Freedom 2 B[e]. He is planning to lead a group in the mardi gras parade on Saturday night.
One newspaper report said he attends Hillsong. The report falsely said he is an ordained AOG minister.
The AOG and Hillsong have now released a statement saying he is not ordained: at the time he came out as a homosexual his "AOG credential was revoked". The statement said he "attends services at Hillsong Church occasionally".
Meanwhile, Venn-Brown told ABC's Life Matters that he is a member of Hillsong and attends a fortnightly 'Connect' group.
* Original article in The Australian's Strewth column
* AOG statement
* Life Matters interview (minutes 31 to 43), 1 March 2007.
* Details of Freedom 2 B[e]'s participation on the 'Life of Unlearning' blog.