The popular regional Pride event that put Daylesford on the rainbow-coloured map is commemorating its silver jubilee in 2022. 

The very first Chill Out (as it was then spelt) was held on March 9, 1997 as a one-day, community picnic style event. The program included such wholesome gaieties as egg and spoon races, stiletto and gumboot tossing, bootscootin’, hayrides, and best-dressed dog competition – a far cry from the A-list strewn, culturally diverse five-day program being offered up in 2022. 

Anything But Virtual

After last year’s watered-down version due to COVID lockdowns, ChillOut’s new festival director Em Ireland wants the 2022 festival to be anything but virtual.

“It is important to look at where we have been with lockdown and isolation. I’m really excited to bring people out of isolation and I have been working really hard to create as many opportunities for socialisation at ChillOut,” Ireland had told Star Observer soon after her appointment. 

“The Carnivale and the street parade, which we sorely missed last year, is back. And we’ve got a big production show, Daddy.” 

Fresh Delights

Regular events such as Pool Party, Poof Doof after party, and the Bush Dance will return, but the program is also packed with fresh delights. 

“There’s a new opening night in which we’re closing off the street for a few hours to have the high school visual students do some projections on the Town Hall. We’ll also have local choirs.”

A one-day event will be held at the Hepburn Sound Shell and feature DJ Bladerunner, Life’s A DRAG fashion parade, panel sessions and star MC, Art Simone. There are some special guests, including Homophonic and Sheldon Riley.”

An All-Ages Affair

The 25 Year Our Time To Shine photographic exhibition captures the evolution not only of the festival but the LGBTQIA+ community in the area. 

Ballroom Blitz is going to be a can’t-miss event, especially with a guest line-up that includes international luminaries like Ladyhawke and Eurovision sensation, Keiino. On Saturday night, the car park will be converted into Soul Disco. 

ChillOut is an all-ages affair and there’s something for the little rainbow droplets as well. “We have wand making. We’ve got this new tent called Glitterati Tent which is a place where you can get glitter in your hair or face make-up.” 

Most of the festival is free or reasonably ticketed, and it’s a feast of a program. 

“Nobody’s going to have a moment to be bored from Thursday to Sunday, that’s for sure,” adds Ireland. 

ChillOut Festival will be held from March 10 – March 14, 2022 at Daylesford. For program details and to book your festival tickets, check the ChillOut Festival website.


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