Iconic LGBTQIA+ festival Midsumma returns with 200 glittering events across Melbourne and regional Victoria

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Iconic LGBTQIA+ festival Midsumma returns with 200 glittering events across Melbourne and regional Victoria


Melbourne’s Midsumma Festival announces 2023 line-up and new signature program.

With a spectacular variety of festivities and events including live music, visual art exhibitions, superb performances, social events, theatre, open panels and more, Melbourne’s revered LGBTQIA+ arts and cultural festival, Midsumma, is returning to 2023, kicking off the new year with an explosion of over 200 events in 120 venues, running between January 21 and February 12.

2023 will see the return of Midsumma’s major outdoor events such as the iconic Midsumma Carnival – Kicking off the three-week festival in its usual stunning fashion at Melbourne CBD’s Alexandra Gardens (Jan 22) and the cherished Midsumma Pride March where over 7400 marchers will be taking to the streets in St Kilda and Catani Gardens (Feb 5).

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Made up of 17 events and representing an increasing number of commissioned works that highlight the depth of talent and the immediacy of queer stories, The Midsumma Presents program will also be returning to 2023 with a variety of fan-favourite events including the treasured Midsumma Extravaganza which will enter its fifth year in style with Australia’s queer comedy royalty Joel Creasey and RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under favourite Kween Kong hosting the Sidney Myer Music Bowl stage in style (Jan 21).

The fan favourite event Homphonic! will also be returning to the Midsumma Presents Program for its 13th year of fabulous new classical chamber that will be bringing the disco ball to the concert hall at Tempo Rubato by celebrating homosexual harmonies, Sapphic symphonists, and the sound world of today’s queer composers (Jan 27 & 28).

A new addition for Midsumma Festival 2023 is the new curated signature program, A Safe(R) Space; Consisting of 21 works from a range of artists across the LGBTQIA+ spectrum, this new signature program will be delving into the topic of what defines a safe space for artists and communities.

“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 and to explore the provocation of safer spaces and what this means to people from our LGBTQIA+ communities,” says Midsumma’s program manager, Brendan Cooney. “We look forward to watching this wide range of events explore the concept of “safer spaces” and illuminate how it can be vastly different for individual members of our diverse communities.”

There’s something for everyone within the A Safe(R) Space as the program delivers a multitude of events such as the Big Thick Energy festival located at Malthouse Outdoor Stage which will be promoting body positivity and liberation through movement, creativity and high energy entertainment curated by performance artist Demon Derriere (Feb 10 & 11).


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Other unmissable highlights include the visual narratives of gender diverse and non-binary identifying artists; Kin Francis, Caleb Thaiday, Luce Nguyen-Hunt, Ari Tampubolon and Indra Liusuari at the The Body Is More Than This exhibition at the Immigration Museum (Jan 26 – Feb 12) and the compelling one-man show Transmansplaining by self-described “short balding, bearded, gay trans man”, Ben MacEllen (Jan 25 &).

Also included in the A Safe(R) Space program is Stranger Than Usual, a unique, awe-inspiring musical performance designed for Deaf people that uncovers Australian artist Asphyxia’s personal experience of being Deaf, queer, chronically ill and needing to use a wheelchair (Feb 2-4).

“We are invited to declare our access needs and feel secure that every practical effort will be made to include us, and it won’t be as an afterthought,” Asphyxia explains.

“It’s not expected that we fit into binary gender norms nor that we are heterosexual – it is assumed that we could be any of multiple sexualities. Experiences of marginalisation and oppression are well understood so they don’t need to be explained but can be shared and commiserated. We don’t need to educate people about our disabilities, gender or sexuality. We don’t get mansplained, especially about our disabilities, sexuality, gender and experiences of marginalisation (and naturally Stranger Than Usual will be a Safe(R) Space).”

The Melbourne Midsumma 2023 Festival will be running between January 21 and February 12 across metro Melbourne and regional Victoria. Head to midsumma.org.au for the full program.

This article was made in partnership with Midsumma.