After three years running Sydney’s extravagant LGBTI festival, Mardi Gras CEO Michael Rolik has confirmed he won’t be back for 2013’s 35th anniversary season.
Rolik (pictured with Kylie above) has advised he will not seek renewal of his contract and will leave the role in August.
“It’s been a privilege to have led one of Sydney’s and the world’s most iconic festivals for the last three seasons, however I feel the time is now right for me to pursue fresh challenges,” he says.
His three years with Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras has seen name-change and parade/party split controversies among the event thrills, but Kylie Minogue’s special appearances this year culminated in a sold-out party and a renewed Mardi Gras optimism.
“Over any program of change there are ups and downs, but on the whole what I’ve enjoyed most is working alongside a great team of diverse and talented people who get involved and get on with the job, to make a positive difference,” Rolik says.
“I am most proud of lifting the artistic and production standards of the Parade and Party, and the work done to create a fairer, more inclusive culture of achievement for our most valuable asset, our volunteers and staff.”
The Mardi Gras crew credit Rolik with initiating a long term strategy to build a sustainable Mardi Gras, increasing event production standards, broadening the participation of diverse LGBTQI communities and amplifying their messages worldwide through new media such as mardigrastv.org.au, and ensuring the Parade remains a strong platform for LQBTQI issues including Marriage Equality.
Chair of SGLMG Pete Urmson says “It goes without saying that I am sad to see Michael go and feel his talents will be a loss for the organisation. His commitment to not only SGLMG but also to the wider community has been unparalleled within and outside of our organisation.”
The search for a suitable replacement has already commenced, with the organisation aiming to place someone the role by July.
Next year’s Mardi Gras Parade and Party date is confirmed for Saturday 2nd March 2013.