Are you ready for a summer of glitz and glamour? Midsumma Festival has launched their 2023 program, with a stacked line-up of over 200 events in 120 venues around Melbourne. Expect a vibrant showcase of queer culture, with local, interstate and international artists in performances, talks and social events. Major events like Midsumma Carnival, Midsumma Pride March and Victoria’s Pride Street Party are making a return. There will also be heaps of events at venues like Victorian Pride Centre, Abbotsford Convent, Theatre Works in St Kilda, Gasworks Arts Park, Pride of Our Footscray, The Butterfly Club, Sidney Myer Music Bowl, Melbourne Recital Centre and more. Midsumma will run from January 21 to February 12.
This extravagant three-week summer festival is returning to Melbourne for its 35th year. It’ll launch with Midsumma Carnival in Alexandra Gardens. This free, outdoor extravaganza will feature acts across three carnival stages, as well as a dog parade, pop-up bars, free giveaways, two large food zones and over 180 stalls. The event will start at 11am, and wrap up at 10pm, ending with a huge dance party across the Main and Picnic stages. The Carnival will take place on Sunday January 22.
Don’t forget to strut your stuff at Midsumma Pride March, which will return to Fitzroy Street in St Kilda on Sunday February 5. This celebration of all gender expressions, sexualities, experiences, and personalities is the perfect place to flaunt your pride, or show your solidarity with loved ones. This kilometre-long parade will start with the motors of Dykes on Bikes. The march will be led by the Boon Wurrung Elders, Rainbow Aboriginal Float and LGBTQIA+ youth. End the march by the St Kilda beachside, with free entertainment, DJs and live performances.
One week later, on Sunday February 12, head over to Gertrude and Smith Streets for the boisterous Victoria’s Pride Street Party. Expect a showcase of live performances, including musicians, comedians, speakers, circus performers and drag artists. During the day, check out some wellness activities, browse through community stalls, see street performers and have fun with interactive events. There will be plenty to eat and drink from local businesses.
A Safe(R) Space
This new program consists of 21 works that explores what defines a safe space for artists and communities. It uncovers a range of work from artists across the LGBTQIA+ spectrum, and how artists come together to collaborate and create within a resourced environment.
“It’s been a joy and a journey for all of us to work with the artists, venues and producers from the A Safe(R) Space program to explore the provocation of safer spaces and what this means to peoples from our LGBTQIA+ communities,” said Brendan Cooney, Program Manager. “We look forward to watching this wide range of events explore the concert of ‘safer spaces’ and illuminate how it can be vastly different for individual members of our diverse communities.”
Highlights of A Safe(R) Space include:
- Big Thick Energy – a high-energy promotion of body positivity and liberation through movement, creativity and community with performance artists at Malthouse Outdoor Stage.
- The Body is More Than This – visual narratives from five artists who identify as gender diverse and non-binary. This exhibition will take place at the Immigration Museum.
- Stranger Than Usual – a performance from Asphyxia, a Deaf artist living with chronic illness. See an insight into her experience being Deaf, squeer, chronically ill and needing to use a wheel chair, with songs written by Asphyxia, a live band, projection art, vibrations and captioning. It’ll be presented in Auslan and English, and take place at Abbotsford Convent.
- Transmansplaining – an original one-man stage show based on the experiences of Ben MacEllen, a self-described “short, balding, bearded, gay, trans man”. This performance will take place at Victorian Pride Centre.
After a successful season in 2022, Midsumma Presents is back with a curated line-up of 17 works. This represents an increasing number of commissioned works for Midsumma Festival. Expect visual art, music, spoken word, cabaret, parties, public forums and more.
- Midsumma Matters – A Panel on Queer Performance – This discussion at The Edge in Fed Square will talk about how queer practices in performance help with diversity, sustain the community and strengthen creativity.
- Nocturnal X Midsumma – an after-dark dance party at Melbourne Museum. Enjoy live music, museum tours, curator talks, pop-up performances and the chance to explore the newest exhibitions.
- Homophonic! – back for its 13th year, this event features new classical music written by LGBTQIA+ composers. It’ll take place at Tempo Rubato in Brunswick.
- Midsumma Extravaganza – back for its fifth year, this thrilling show at Sidney Myer Music Bowl will take place on January 21. It’ll be hosted by Joel Creasey and Kween Kong, with musical performances and comedians to enjoy.
This is just scratching the surface of all the wonderful events happening at Midsumma Festival. Explore the full program by checking out their website.