I’d better start this review with a confession…I wimped out of Mardi Gras. I only stayed until 5ish so I missed Ianto/Gareth David Lloyd and possibly quite a few other celebs. This wimping out had nothing to do with the quality or variety of the delights on offer at Mardi Gras but was purely due to my fragile physical/mental state induced by a bout of drinking at Chapter on Friday night followed by having to get up early to work Sat morning. I know this is a rubbish excuse considering my fellow blogger vanillalatte_1 accompanied me at Chapter (the drinking was preceded by watching Gary Coyle’s ‘At Sea’ – see our review here) and was up super early and at Mardi Gras for 12 hours!
So, impressions of Mardi Gras:
I rolled up about 12.45 armed with McDonalds for the hard working Press Officer which the gate guards/stewards very kindly let me bring on site. I then staggered to the Co-op tent where I picked up my green backstage wristband (me so cool!). Press Officer then came to find/rescue me and escorted me backstage where I got my ‘Media’ gaydar.co.uk lanyard. I then collapsed backstage for a bit to watch the comings and goings and listen to the performers on the main stage over the roar of the gennies.
After a bit I decided to have an explore around the site. I managed to bagsy quite a few freebies from the various stalls although I could perhaps have been a bit cheekier and got more. Best freebie was fabric bag from National Museum of Wales adorned with a pair of wellies in honour of the fact that they were exhibiting Dame Shirley Bassey’s wellies from Glasto. I also got some nice stickers from Amnesty International and the Welsh Labour Party. Thanks to Stonewall I now know ow to say “Some people are gay. Get over it.” (best slogan ever) in Cymraeg – well I have it written down, haven’t memorised it yet!
I then met up with some mates and we went to watch the South Wales Gay Men’s Chorus (SWGMC) perform on the Cabaret Stage. Preceeding them was a glamourpuss belting out some pop hits inc. Alexandra Burke’s version of Hallelujah which she did very well. The SWGMC completly stole her thunder by dancing and singing along behind her ‘backstage’ and one them even got up on stage tobump ‘n’ grind with her! She took it in good spirits though. When it came to SWGMC’s performance they disappointed a bit as the rhythm seemed to have deserted them and they only swayed gently whilst singing when moments before they’d been doing the can-can ‘backstage. ‘ Sadly they were also a bit drowned out by the bass pounding from the funfair rides. They still delivered a charming performance, however.
There has been some controversy about the culture/atmosphere surounding the site and the set up of the site itself. I thought it was a good idea to fence it as it made it feel safe and secure but I think the site was too small. Even by 5pm it was too crowded to walk around the site freely and there was a feeling of being ‘penned ‘ or ‘kettled’ plus the queues to get in and crowds around the entrance were pretty bad. But the atmosphere was gentle and non-threatening (at least in the early evening). I think considering this was a free event there was lots to see and do and the organisers should be very proud of their acheivement. A thought for ext year though: lots more loos please as there always seemed to be 30+ people queuing!