Article Title:Hero Fest's a goer but parade is looking doubtful
Author or Credit:Jay Bennie
Published on:4th August 2004 - 12:00 pm
Story ID:353
Text:A newly-formulated Trust will soon take over Auckland's Hero Festival, but confusion over negotiations with AK05 means the much put-off Hero parade stands only a 50/50 chance of going ahead next February. A number of key Hero Festival 2005 events have been confirmed for next february, including the Big Gay Out on February 13, Heroic Gardens on the weekend of the 19th and 20th, Wigs on the Waterfront on the 20th and a dance party on February 26. But the much-debated Hero Parade is looking less likely to proceed than it did a few weeks ago when negotiations were progressing between Hero and the dumped AK05 organiser Simon Prast. "We had spent a lot of time working with Simon in recent months, says Hero spokesperson Mike Binis. "Simon had led us to believe that AK05 was very likely to organise the Hero parade, we had come to some important understandings and many conditions of the arrangement had been verbally agreed to." However, two weeks ago Prast was ousted from AK05 and Binis says its current organisers have advised AK05 was never going to be involved. "We've been trying very hard but unsuccessfully to contact Simon," says Binis, "hoping that we can get some clarification on the situation." He says Hero's calls to the new AK05 management have not been answered. The upshot of the current confusion is that the Hero Parade which was apparently "likely" to go ahead next February now stands "only a 50/50 chance of happening," according to Binis. Meanwhile a new entity, the Brilliance Trust, is being formed to take over Hero and free it from the baggage of past misfortunes. Brilliance will operate under restrictions which will see it unable to trade or take on debt. Instead it will simply own the Hero brand, oversee the running of Hero Festival events by independent community groups and promoters, and receive any profits for distribution within the community. "The new trust will be charged with improving the lives of and celebrating gay, lesbian, transsexual, transgender and HIV infected people," says Hero Brand Group spokesperson Mike Binis. The Hero Brand Management Group will continue to oversee the Hero Festival, working with event organisers to ensure events complement Hero's objectives and are well run. The separation between the Brand Management Group and the trust will be maintained, keeping to an arrangement first put in place to help Hero escape from the crippling debts in the region of $140,000 which almost saw the organisation collapse three years ago. In the meantime two agreements are in place for aspects of next year's hero festival. The NZ AIDS Foundation has agreed to produce the Big Gay Out on the same basis as it has for the past two years, with management of the event subcontracted to an event organiser who has yet to be confirmed. Additionally has agreed to provide internet services to Hero, maintaining at no cost the Hero Festival web presence and providing email facilities. The first part of this internet presence is already on place on's home page which will continue to be updated to provide all available information on the festival. Jay Bennie - 4th August 2004    
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