The 2004 Mardi Gras Festival programme hits the streets from tomorrow, a line-up of over 100 events including international acts, perennial favourites and the return of events not produced for some years.

The second festival for New Mardi Gras has 40 more events than last year, which co-chair Michael Woodhouse told Sydney Star Observer was a sign the community and arts organisations were keen to continue participating in the Mardi Gras season.

I think it’s also a function of longer timelines, we had a lot more time to get more things on this year, Woodhouse said, thanking the festival working group for seeking out events and creating an impressive program.

Co-chair Steph Sands agreed. It’s a really diverse season, and there’s events you don’t expect to see in the festival season -¦ I’ll have to attend four events a day in order to see everything and I’m looking forward to the challenge, Sands said.

The big name draw for 2004 is Dionne Warwick, who will perform with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra at the Opera House. Other international acts include Irish cabaret star Enda Markey, US performance/slam poet Staceyann Chin and folk/rock artist Doria Roberts. Belvoir Street Theatre’s production of Joe Orton’s What The Butler Saw is also presented as a festival event.

New events include the 7 Deadly Sins women’s party (produced by ACON) and Queer Mobbing, which involves participants being emailed details of where to converge on a specific place at a specific time to do something queer. Participants are asked to email their name and contact details to queermobbing@yahoo.com.au.

The parade, party, fair day and launch will all return, as well as the Great Debate with the topic Monogamy Is Monotony.

A full program of sports and community events is also scheduled, including the first lesbian and gay biathlon and the eighth annual Harbour City Bears festival.

The program also features messages of support from local, state and federal political leaders, including Mark Latham, Bob Carr, Sandra Nori, John Brogden, Clover Moore, Lucy Turnbull, Joe Hockey, Tony Pooley and Bob Brown. A message from John Howard’s media officer declining to offer support has also been included.

The 2004 Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Official Season Guide will be on the streets from Friday 12 December.

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