MIDSUMMA will host its inaugural Midwinta Black Tie Gala Ball this August, filling a gap in Melbourne’s LGBTI cultural calendar.

The fundraising event aims to grab the attention of both the LGBTI community and its allies outside the city’s festival season running through the first few months of the year, with Midsumma in January and February, and the Melbourne Queer Film Festival in March.

Funds raised from the event will target the development of “new and aspiring talent” during next year’s festival, and organisers hope it will also build community and corporate interest in Midsumma outside of festival season.

Midsumma board member and chair of the Midwinta subcommittee Kate Wickett told the Star Observer the event would target LGBTI allies as well as community members. It would also serve as an opportunity for Midsumma to court corporate sponsorship for the festival.

As well as addressing a gap in the LGBTI event calendar, Wickett hoped the gala would attract people who may not attend events in Melbourne’s bars and clubs.

“[An event like this] appeals to a different demographic that doesn’t necessarily want to got to dance parties,” she said.

Wickett also explained pending the event’s success, Midwinta is planned to recur annually and at some point may expand into a larger “mini-festival”. A Midwinter festival could see the gala serve as a key event with other, smaller events running alongside it.

“There’s nothing written in stone, but it’s certainly something that’s been mooted,” Wickett said.

The Midwinta Gala Ball will take place on Friday, August 15 at the Grant Hyatt Melbourne.

Details and tickets: visit www.midsumma.org.au/midwinta

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