The 16 Days Of Queer-mas: Jordan Raskopoulos’ Definitive Guide To Mardi Gras In Sydney
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The Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras is almost upon us and there’s so much to do. What’s that, you say? Just a parade? Oh petal, no! Yes, there is big gay parade down Oxford Street, but there’s so much more. There’s parties and comedy and talks and cabaret, there’s even sports! SPORTS!
There’s more than two weeks of LGBTIQ celebrations. Here’s some highlights you can expect on the 16 days of queer-mas.
Mardi Gras season kicks off on February 17 at Fair Day. Just like the cover of Pink Floyd’s The Dark Side of the Moon, you’ll be able to see every colour of the rainbow here. Victoria Park becomes a queer paradise where you can check out stalls from every corner of the community, enjoy games in the queer sports village, have a picnic, see some amazing performers, and witness all the drama of the annual Doggywood dog pageant.
Mardi Gras Central
The Seymour Centre is transformed into a hub of queer activity for the duration of the festival. The theatres, foyers, and courtyard will be open so you can explore a diverse range of queer performance and enjoy the late-night festival club.
Show Highlights include The Butch Monologues, Briefs, and The Rise and Fall of St George.
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The Darlinghurst Theatre is hosting a three-day comedy festival from February 27 to March 1, with shows from Rhys Nicholson, Maeve Marsden and, oh, wait, well this is embarrassing, Jordan Raskopoulos – yes, me. I am doing a show. Golly, gee… Wow.
Carriageworks plays host to Queer Thinking on the February 23 and 24. There’s a great program featuring queer writers, community leaders, panel discussions, talks, debates, and personal stories covering all manner of topics that affect the LGBTIQ community.
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I said there would be sports! On Feb 23 Sydney Roller Derby League will be hosting their annual Butch vs Femme Pride Fight at Sydney Boys High. Team Butch took the trophy last year. Will they continue their winning streak or will there be a Femme Revolution. If you’ve never seen roller derby before it’s kinda like rugby, without a ball, on rollerskates.
March 2 is parade night and hundreds of floats representing every corner of the queer community will walk, strut, mince, and werk down Oxford Street in a celebration of pride and unity.
Tickets for the deluxe viewing areas in Taylor Square and Flinders street have sold out, so if you want to get a good view of the parade, you’d do best to head out early and stake out a spot on the parade route.
It’s too late to register a float, but if you want to march in the parade, then you might be able to find a group that still has space available. Most of the floats are organised by community groups, so your best bet is to jump on Facebook and have a search.
It’s a huge night with lots of glitter and enormous crowds, so it’s a good idea to be prepared for a long day. There is a managed accessible viewing area for those who require it and you can register for accessible viewing through the Mardi Gras website.
Party, Party, Party
Let’s be real, though, Mardi Gras is all about the parties, and planning your good times is super important. Parties rage throughout the festival, but tickets are moving quick.
If you’re ready to werk it, then head to Sissy Ball, Australia’s biggest vogue ball, at Carriageworks on February 23. If you want a more chill vibe, there’s two parties on at The Ivy Pool: the very chic Strictly Kaftan Party on February 19 and the Mardi Gras Pool Party on the 25th.
The official after party, on March 2, is at the Hordern Pavilion, where there’ll be performances from PNAU and Kim Petras. But if the official party isn’t your bag, there are loads of other parties on that night, too, each one catering to a different section of the community: Heaps Gay is turning Sydney Uni’s Manning Bar into a futuristic Queertopia, while Unicorns’ sparkly soiree will be at the Factory Theatre. Erskineville’s iconic Imperial Hotel will play host to Honcho Disco and will feature performances from international acts and local DJs.
And if you don’t want the party to stop, then make sure to be at the Laneway party at The Beresford on March 3.
Have Fun & Stay Safe
Mardi Gras is the best time to be queer in Sydney. There’s so much to do and so much fun to be had. You’ll do great – just remember to drink plenty of water, practice consent, and look after yourself and your mates.
Go out there and get ya gay on.
(Lead image: Jeffrey Feng Photography)
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