Kicking off in 1997 in the eclectic and blissful Victorian town of Daylesford, Chillout Festival has grown to become Australia’s largest Queer Country Pride festival. Yet in its 23 year history, the festival team has never faced the kinds of challenges like those of 2020.

Still, the team have rallied and will deliver a festival in 2021, though one that might look a little different, as Michele Bauer, Festival director tells Star Observer.

“Chillout was very lucky to have skated in this year seven days before lockdown began. We were so far along at that point, that if we had to cancel it would have been a massive blow to us. Obviously planning for next year has been nothing short of harrowing, but yes we are definitely having a festival.”

One of the biggest changes in 2021 will see the festival go from its usual three day program, to encompass 10 days worth of events. Sadly, due to COVID-19, one of Chillout’s most loved events has had to be cancelled.

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 “Carnival next year it not going ahead, but the parade is. We are flipping it on its head and rather than having all the groups marching through town and having a bunch of people pack in along the streets. We are going to place the groups all up and down main street and then have the audience walk through as the parade.

“We are fully intending on holding the bush dance next year too, but it will be a little different and outdoors. Which is a general theme overall. The festival is really focusing on the outdoors, which is perfect for Daylesford with so many wonderful things to do outdoors.”

Chillout Festival among many firsts, will next year include a CrossFit challenge, a fun run, and also special mindfulness tours through Wombat State Forest.

“We are also creating a grove of gratitude, based on the concept of the Avenue Of Honour, in an area around Lake Daylesford, that we are taking over and replanting over the next five years. The trees will be dedicated to different individuals, and we will geotag those trees to tell you about who they are for, it will become a wonderful living museum to the LGBTQI community.”

“We look forward to seeing everyone at Chillout in 2021, its 10 days and two weekends, so you can spread it out next year.”

Chillout Festival is scheduled from February  27-March 8, 2021. For more information head to www.chilloutfestival.com.au

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