The Pride Events You Can't Miss in 2017
Put on your party pants and get yourself to these six spectacular celebrations of diversity adding a streak of rainbow right across Australia.
Midsumma Festival (15 January to 5 February)
In 2017, Midsumma celebrates 30 years of cultivating Melbourne’s queer arts scene with 130 events – live performances, visual arts, films, parties, talks and sports – over three weeks.
The three headline events are Midsumma Carnival in Alexandra Gardens on the banks of the Yarra to open festivities, then the Midumma Pride March through St Kilda in the second week, before the curtain is drawn on the festival by Midsumma Horizon, an experimental live performance, art and music party in the Testing Grounds. The best bit? None of them cost a cent.
Stay at Melbourne Central YHA on Flinders St or Melbourne Metro YHA in trendy North Melbourne.
Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras (17 February to 5 March)
Australia’s premier pride parade pulls hundreds of thousands of visitors from every corner of Australia and the globe to Oxford St for a flamboyant procession that consumes an industrial quantity of glitter, feathers and spandex.
But Mardi Gras is about plenty more than just the parade (which this year falls on Saturday, 4 March), with 80 events squeezed in to a two-week extravaganza. The 80,000 people who rock up to Fair Day, the Indigenous ‘Koori Gras’ in Redfern, and Queer Screen’s film festival held across the city are all highlights.
Even if you don’t get much sleep on parade weekend, staying at Sydney Central YHA or Railway Square YHA makes sure you’re close to the action, while Glebe Point YHA is in the thick of the inner-west’s queer-friendly bar scene and the stunning views at Sydney Harbour YHA are perfect for a romantic getaway.
Brisbane Queer Film Festival (10 to 19 March)
The BQFF brings the best queer cinema from around the globe to Brisbane, an initiative of the Brisbane Powerhouse that’s now in its 18th year.
The 2017 instalment showcases a range of award-winning gay, lesbian, bi, trans* and gender non-binary content in the heritage-listed New Farm Cinemas, a charming theatre refurbished in 2014 with vintage ‘70s décor.
Stay at Brisbane City YHA for the rooftop views of the Brisbane River – and while you’re there, sneak away for a seaside escape to nearby Noosa or Stradbroke Island.
Alice Springs Pride Carnivale (September)
Celebrating sexuality in the remote Red Centre, Alice Springs’ pride event is a weekend packed with parties, fair days, cabarets, a short film festival and art exhibitions, as well as workshops and forums to support LGBTQI+ people living in isolated communities across the Territory.
Carnivale particularly embraces the culture of Brotherboys and Sistergirls – trans Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with a sexual identity that long predates European arrival in Australia.
Stay at the centrally located Alice Springs YHA and we’ll see you in the NT!
Feast Festival, Adelaide (October/November)
This grassroots queer arts and culture festival blew out 20 candles on its birthday cake in 2016, notching two decades of supporting the LGBTQI+ community and their allies.
Feast has been bringing world-class Australian and international performers to Adelaide since 1997 – we’re talking the likes of drag queen Eurovision winner Conchita Wurst in 2014 then Danii Minogue two years later – and the 21st birthday party in 2017 will be no exception.
Adelaide Central YHA couldn’t be better located, right across the road from Light Square where the parade sets off from and only a 10-minute stroll to the Feast Hub at 54 Hyde St, which hosts opening night’s epic street party.
PrideFest, Perth (November)
The West has to wait until the end of the year for their time in the sun, but boy does Perth make the most of it when the LGBTQI+ limelight finally makes its way across the Nullarbor for 10 days of arts, culture and community.
Perth City YHA is only 750m from the parade route, which featured more than 65 floats spreading the #lovewins message throughout the streets of Northbridge in 2016, making it the largest street parade in the state.
And if you’ve travelled all that way to WA, don’t miss the historic port city of Fremantle – the old prison has been transformed into a YHA, and you can now rent out the guards’ cottages for an unbeatable view of the sunset over the water.