Midsumma Festival is Melbourne's annual LGBTQIA+ event that celebrates culture and local communities. Over the course of the 22-day festival, you can look forward to more than 165 queer events which take place in and around Melbourne. Midsumma Festival first began as a week-long pride in Melbourne, in 1989. From its humble beginnings, the festival has expanded into a three-week event, which attracts roughly over 280,000 people each year.
During Midsumma Festival, a host of queer-related events take place throughout Melbourne, with everything from exhibitions and workshops to readings, sport, and cabaret. The two key events for the annual festival, however, are the Midsumma Carnival and the Midsumma Pride March. The Midsumma Carnival has arguably become the highlight of the annual festival, and usually takes place during one entire day in January, in the Alexandra Gardens. The carnival is the pefect prelude for the rest of Midsumma Festival, offering loads of live music, a T Dance, and the popular Dog Show.
The Pride March is the second key event of Midsumma Festival, and usually takes place in February, along Fitzroy Street, St. Kilda. Welcoming over 45,000 spectators, and more than 7,000 pride marchers, this has become Victoria's largest pride march. The very first pride march in Melbourne took place in 1996, governed by Pride March Victoria, and welcomed an impressive 11,000 people. Today, tributes are still paid to this iconic moment in Melbourne's pride history.
As well as providing an incredible three-week festival each year in Melbourne, Midsumma Festival has evolved into one of Australia's most important queer arts organizations. It continues to nuture queer art and culture, by giving voice to generations of LGBTQ people, as well as discovering new artists and initiating pertinent conversations.
The following is the event program for 2020. Stay tuned for the 2021 program.
For 2020, Midsumma Festival will be kicking off on January 19, and will welcome 194 unique events which will transpire across 100 different venues in Melbourne and Victoria more broadly. With an expected audience of 284,000 people, this year's installment is set to be epic. As per tradition, Midsumma Carnival will ignite all the pride on Sunday, January 19, in the Alexandra Gardens.
The free event will run from 11am to 11pm, and be host to a range of queer-related events and presentations. Think drag acts, a dog show, and one incredible T Dance in the evening, which will be curated by local DJs including Banoffee and Mark Moon. The carnival will also welcome various food stalls and a pop-up bar, serving a range of drinks. With January being the height of summer in Melbourne, this is one excellent way to experience your pride in the sun.
The second signature event for Midsumma Festival is the incredible Pride March, and for 2020, St. Kilda will come alive on Sunday, February 2. 2020 will mark the 25th anniversary of Melbourne's Pride March in St. Kilda, and all the revelry will kick off on Ian Johnson Oval, then wind its way to Fitzroy Street, and finish up at Catani Gardens with post-pride celebrations. This will comprise a seaside soirée of fine food and drinks, and general celebration of local queer culture. The aim of this year's Pride March is to recognize the diverse groups, sexualities, personalities, and experiences that make the queer community so rich and colorful. Everyone deserves to march, to be heard, to feel safe, and of course to belong.
Along with the Midsumma Carnival and Pride March, enjoy many different events throughout Melbourne over the course of the three-week festival. Look forward to everything from a pool party, drag shows, cabaret performances, and pertinant discussions. See details on the program, and get ready to experience your pride down under in Melbourne for Midsumma Festival 2020.