Heading up to Daylesford for ChillOut over the long weekend? Here are some top tips to make your weekend.

A delightful day out
ChillOut Festival’s signature event, Carnival Day, draws crowds from far and near and for good reason. The event — on March 13 — is one of the most laidback on the gay and lesbian calendar, but not without plenty to see, hear, eat and drink. This year festival-goers will be treated to two stages of entertainment with pop-jazz artist Kimbra, the Blow Waves, Michelle Parsons, Drags Aloud, Lee Rosser, the Singh Sisters, and Dolly Diamond and Luke Gallagher on the main stage.
Blues and folk duo Dirty Lucy will join Cyndi Boste, Kodiak, The Hazelman Brothers and Leda and Caleb on the second stage. Tickets are available to purchase online in advance for $16 (or $20 at the gate). The event is free for children under 14 years with a parent or guardian. Gates open 11am – 6pm. For tickets, visit the ChillOut website.

And they’re racing
It’s odds on to be a favourite event this year as punters and fashionistas alike descend on Kynteon Park Racing Club for ChillOut’s first country race day.
The event on March 12 will feature the re-scheduled Hanging Rock Cup and plenty of racing action. Entertainment has been planned throughout the day, including MC Dolly Diamond, music, and local food and wine stalls.
The ChillOut Country Races coincide with one of the biggest days on the Victorian racing calendar and a big screen will be set up to broadcast races from Flemington and around the state.
A shuttle bus for racegoers will also run during the day from the Daylesford information centre to Kyneton Station to the racetrack.
Tickets will be sold at the gate. Cost $10 or $6 concession, free for children under 15.

Party on parade
If you need proof we queers like to create a bit of colour and noise wherever we are, look no further than the ChillOut Street Parade.
While the parade’s more modest stroll around Daylesford’s main shopping drag doesn’t quite rival the revelry on Oxford St, the event still has its sparkle and fun.
The event draws a mix of curious locals and seasoned pride march-goers, and although a smaller affair, its rural setting gives the ‘we’re here, we’re queer’ attitude a little more relevance.
The parade starts off traditionally with Dykes on Bikes, plus a few favourite colourful characters. This year organisers have dangled a carrot for participants, with $500 awarded to the best entry. The parade starts at 10.30am.

Daylesford do-si-do
If you’ve never been to ChillOut’s Bush Dance before, this is your year. Think hundreds of hot and sweaty queers packed in a ‘barn’ jigging and square dancing ’til the cows come home. It’s a hoot.
If you’ve never square-danced before, fear not, a dance caller will be on hand to help you learn the steps.
Don your most colourful plaid shirt and ripped denim for a terrific night out with some ol’ fashioned, thigh-slapping fun to the good-time music of The Family Farm and The Cartwheels.
The Bush Dance was so popular last year dancers were almost bursting out of the hall, so it’s best to get in early. This year the event has moved to the more spacious Town Hall in Daylesford. Make sure you don’t miss it. Cost $20, bookings essential.

Let’s dance
The ChillOut Dance Party is on again at Daylesford Town Hall on March 13. The Town Hall is lit up in rainbow colours during the festival and, with Monday off work, the dance party is a perfect way to keep the party going on the Labour Day long weekend.
This year features ChillOut regular Miss Eleni, who will hit the decks with her club mix of soulful house, and fellow Aussie DJ David Thrussell.
Thrussell has gained international attention with his electro-cinematic soundscapes. He has performed sets at international music festivals and includes playing at one of filmmaker Quentin Tarantino’s private parties on his CV. Tickets are $50 pre-sale only (no ticket sales at the door).

Hit a high score

Sports have been a surprise success at recent ChillOut festivals with the popular golf tournament attracting a bevy of enthusiastic golfers with a range of handicaps. Set in tranquil bushland, the 18-hole course will host three events on March 12 including the women’s, men’s and mixed tournaments. Cost $25 entry and includes a BBQ. If you’re more of a sporting spectator, take a look at the crash-and-bash hijinks of the roller derby girls, who face off at Daylesford High School on the same day. For those who fancy getting their heart rate going during the weekend, a range of activities are on offer including mountain biking, horse trail rides, bocce, yoga, barefoot bowls, and a Great Lakes walk.

info: For tickets and further information visit www.chilloutfestival.com.au

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