Adelaide’s Feast queer cultural festival kicks off its 15th year in November with a strong focus on giving the city’s LGBT community a visible, central place to converge for the 16 days of the festival.

Creative producer Kerry Ireland told the Star Observer that the positive reaction to last year’s Light Square Festival Hub meant she and her team had upped the ante for 2011.

“This year, we’re taking over the whole square. Within that festival hub, we’ve got a ballroom, the cabaret lounge, and a brand-new venue called The Campsite complete with fireplace and hay bales that’s designed for storytelling and Indigenous events.

“We’ve also got an outdoor cinema, an outdoor stage, a bar and a restaurant.”

The plan is to make the hub the go-to-venue for the two weeks of the festival, regardless of whether premier events like the opening night party and picnic after-party are being held there.

“You just know if you go there there’ll be something for you to do,” Ireland said.

“It worked really well last year. It made us really visible to the rest of the city, and it gave the queer community a lot of pride. We had a lot of drag queens telling us they didn’t feel comfortable going out dressed up until we introduced the hub.”

The entertainment line-up for this year’s festival includes cabaret from Pink Sinatra and Dolly Diamond, theatrical queer classics Holding The Man and All About My Mother, and a particularly strong stand-up program featuring Tom Ballard, Talking Poofy, a newly-out Geraldine Hickey, and Nath Valvo.

“Tom loved the hub and what we did last year, so he asked to come back. And we’ve got Geraldine, who’s just come out! As she says, she’s told a lot of dick jokes in the past few years but now, something’s changed,” Ireland said.

Ireland said she hoped the line-up would draw a larger-than-ever contingent of visitors from across the country.

INFO: Feast Festival, November 12 – 27. www.feast.org.au

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