Midsumma Festival has officially launched its 2019 program, boasting 165 events created by 1,600 artists and performers across 75 venues.

The annual 23-day festival will run from January 19 until February 10, with events aiming to foster LGBTI pride and to celebrate our diverse communities.

Iconic Midsumma events Midsumma Carnival and Pride March will again return, but as part of a festival-first initiative, a new one-day consent festival will open Midsumma in 2019, a day before Carnival.

Hosted at the Melba Spiegeltent, Consent Festival will explore consent in relationships, workplaces, in health, and in art, through panel discussions, life drawing, workshops, and performances.

Some of the speakers slated to appear at Consent Festival include Quinn Eades, Ayman Barbaresco, Margherita Coppolino, Nevo Zisin, and representatives from Vixen Collective and Undercurrent Victoria.

The safe space will allow attendees to unpack taboos, share their experiences, and unite in passion and curiosity.

Midsumma Presents will again showcase a number of diverse events, including Dancing Qweens, a social history of queer dance performed by Melbourne’s queer iconoclast James Welsby.

The Melbourne Museum will host a musical takeover with Nocturnal featuring Nakhane, a South African musician and star of The Wound who the Star Observer profiled last month.

Program highlights from the BODY stream include Beast by Krishna Istha, a part stand-up comedy act and part performance exploring the life of a trans person in 2019, and how testosterone can transform you into a social renegade.

HABITS and friends is a late night party featuring popular dark-techno duo HABITS and Silvia Calderoni, the international intersex artist features in MDLSX by Motus.

Arts Centre Melbourne will host Merciless Gods, a brutal and tender exploration of queer immigrant experiences in Australia, unveiling the hidden faces of ancient capricious deities on mortal soil. The award-winning collection of theatrical vignettes is based on the writing of acclaimed author Christos Tsiolkas.

Tickets are now on sale at midsumma.org.au, with a 15 per cent early bird discount until November 29.

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