WorldPride is Coming to Sydney: A Guide to Official WorldPride Events

17 Dec 2022

This blog is the first in a series of features about Sydney WorldPride. Stay tuned for the next installment to get a more complete guide of everything happening over the seventeen days of the festival and beyond!

Make Sydney your top destination this summer to experience an LGBTQIA+ festival like no other! Coinciding with Sydney’s iconic Mardi Gras, WorldPride is taking place in the Southern Hemisphere for the first time in its history, making Sydney its home base. Running officially from the 17th of February to the 5th of March – but with certain events expanding out from January to July – WorldPride will bring a summer-long celebration of queer culture across every interest area, from art and performance to sports to parties and dining experiences.

If you’re traveling interstate or internationally, consider starting your WorldPride journey in Newcastle, just a few hours north of Sydney, with Pink Salt, a three-course meal served up by some of Australia’s best queer chefs. Featuring delicious cuisine and a drinks package, the meal will be accompanied by performances from drag queens, DJs, musicians, and more. Pink Salt will be held on the 18th of February and is an 18+ event.

Once you’ve wrapped up your stay in Newcastle, try making it to Sydney for the Mardi Gras Fair Day on the 19th of February. Fair day is a free event for the whole family, with over 200 stalls, plenty of entertainment, food and drink vendors, and, of course, the beloved Doggywood pageant. Fair Day will also feature a First Nations Circle, a reminder that WorldPride and Mardi Gras are being celebrated on unceded Aboriginal land. The First Nations Circle will feature performances by First Nations artists as well as stalls for First Nations owned and operated businesses.

Photo Credit: Jeffrey Feng

If you want to extend your stay in Newcastle rather than race down to Sydney for the 19th, plane to arrive on the 22nd of February instead, just in time for Queer Art After Hours, hosted by the newly-expanded Art Gallery of New South Wales. This free event aims to highlight the best of queer art and performance, with live music, DJs, workshops, and art installations. See the Art Gallery like never before, with the event running from 5:00pm to 11:00pm. Queer Art After Hours is suitable for the whole family, featuring a queer youth space for the world’s next generation of queer artists and creatives.

Next up on the official WorldPride itinerary is Klub Village, a variety show highlighting diversity through drag, circus, and cabaret performances. This event, hosted by Haus of Kong, is a celebration of First Nations from around the world and will feature artists from Humxn, Casus, House of Alexander, Aboriginal Comedy All Stars, and more. Performances will occur on February 23rd, 26th, and 27th. Be sure to buy tickets early so you don’t miss out!

Promotional Image for Klub Village, via Sydney WorldPride Website

Klub Village is taking place as part of Marri Madung Butbut (meaning many brave hearts): the First Nations Gathering Space. Held at Carriageworks, Marri Madung Butbut will consist of six days of performances, dining, exhibits, and drag shows, all celebrating the art and performance of global First Nations creatives. In addition to Klub Village, events include Camp Culture, an all-ages interactive circus hosted by Dale Woodbridge-Brown, Miss First Nation, an iconic drag showdown between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander queens, and Ailan Songs Project, a collection of folk songs that explore the history of the Torres Strait, performed by Australian Indigenous singer Jessie Lloyd. For full details of the events occurring as part of Marri Madung Butbut, click here.

Promotional Image for Miss First Nation, via Sydney WorldPride Website

If you wish Fair Day could have been a bit longer, or you missed out on it entirely, don’t worry! Pride Villages is the place to be! Running from the 24th of February to the 5th of March, Pride Villages will take over Crown Street and Riley Street in the iconic Oxford Street LGBTQIA+ district of Sydney. For a week, these streets will be closed for stalls, performances, and dining, serving as a festival hub and a place for the community to gather. The best part? Entry is free and open to all ages!

Coming to the stage on the 24th, don’t miss Live and Proud: Sydney WorldPride Opening Concert, featuring the talent Jessica Mauboy, Kylie Minogue, and Charlie XCX. Start off your concert experience right with pre-show entertainment and dining from 3pm. This event is suitable for all ages, and you can choose between assigned seating or general admission on the lawn.

As a joint effort with WorldPride, this year’s Mardi Gras Parade promises to be an event to remember. The jewel in the crown of the Mardi Gras celebrations each year, the parade puts the resilience, individuality, beauty, and pride of Sydney’s LGBTQIA+ community on display. Making a glorious return after a year’s hiatus, the 2022 Mardi Gras Parade will be 200 floats and over 12,000 marchers strong. Aligning with the theme of the 2022 WorldPride – Gather, Dream, Amplify – the parade will bring together queer people from all walks of life to celebrate our differences and the wonderful community that we all have in common. The parade will follow a route from Hyde Park to Moore Park, featuring classic groups like Dykes on Bikes and Australian Lifesavers with Pride. If you want to make your parade experience even more special, consider buying a ticket to exclusive viewing areas like Ruby Road and Club Cindy. Or head to the free Accessible Viewing Area – designed to ensure everyone is included in the celebration – which is an alcohol free zone, includes a quiet room hosted by Autism Spectrum Australia, and has charging points for electric wheelchairs.

Photo Credit: Rocket Weijers

The Mardi Gras Parade may be known as the showstopper of Sydney Mardi Gras, but it is by no means the finale! On the 26th of February is the Domain Dance Party, a seven-hour-long circuit event headlined by Kelly Rowland and featuring DJs from Australia and around the world. From the 1st to the 3rd of March is the Sydney WorldPride Human Rights Conference, the largest of its kind to take place south of the equator. Laugh Out Proud, another iconic event in the Mardi Gras festival calendar, will take place on the 3rd of March at Enmore Theatre. This year, the comedy gala will feature Spankie Jackzon, Rosie Piper, Bob Downe, Dazza and Keif, and Rudy-Lee Taurua.

Laugh Out Proud (Photo Credit: Jeffrey Feng)

If you haven’t gotten your party fix yet, the Bondi Beach Party will be held on the 4th of March at one of Australia’s most well-known beaches. Featuring Nicole Scherzinger and a lineup of talented DJs, this event is not one to be missed! Alternatively, consider attending the Mardi Gras Sissy Ball, a larger-than-life vogue ball curated by Kilia Pahulu, Godmother of the House of Slé. This vogue ball will bring together vogue houses from across the globe as they battle for the crown.

Party-goers at the 2020 Mardi Gras (Photo Credit: Jeffrey Feng)

On the final official day of Sydney WorldPride, March 5th, plan for a packed schedule from dawn to dusk. Starting at 7am is the Pride March, which will see a group of 50,000 proud members of the LGBTQIA+ community walk across the Sydney Harbour Bridge in celebration of the community’s achievements and in recognition of the battles still to be fought. In this bold march, the queer community demands not only visibility, but equality for LQBTQIA+ people on an international scale. Taking place only five years after the passage of marriage equality in Australia, and forty-five years after the first Mardi Gras, the Pride Walk marks an important moment in queer history as we continue to strive to freedom and equality.

Finally, to end the official festival schedule, Rainbow Republic will run from 3:00pm to 10:00pm, following the Pride March. This music festival boasts a star studded lineup, with performances from Muna, G Flip, Keiynan Lonsdale, Peach PRC, and more. As the culmination of seventeen days of WorldPride, this is a final chance for the community to come together and celebrate before everyone part ways.

An outdoor festival at the 2020 Mardi Gras (Photo Credit: Jeffrey Feng)

From start to finish, each official WorldPride event serves to uplift and amplify the diverse voices of the global LGBTQIA+ community. However you want to celebrate this year, let’s show the world how Australia does Pride!

This blog is the first in a series of features about Sydney WorldPride. Stay tuned for the next installment to get a more complete guide of everything happening over the seventeen days of the festival and beyond!

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