THE Melt Queer Arts Festival is set to heat up Brisbane again next week.

Now in its third year, the festival is becoming one of Australia’s top LGBTI festivals, falling between Melbourne’s Midsumma and the Sydney Mardi Gras.

Melt 2017, presented by the Brisbane Powerhouse Theatre, will showcase some of our finest queer artists and performers.

The festival is “a celebration of queer arts and culture”. It will feature plenty of free shows and events, as well as ticketed performances.

Melt kicks off on Wednesday with the return of the Melt Beauty Pageant. Hosted by Brisbane drag favourite Tina Bikki, it’s sure to be full of glitter and glam. The pageant will see the city’s hottest drag queens, drag kings and trans folks battle it out in categories including ‘costume with a message’, and competing for the grand crown of Brisbane Beauty.

The festival officially opens with a massive launch party hosted by Fluffy at the Powerhouse on Wednesday evening. The night will kick on at the official after-party at The Family—it’s a public holiday eve, so stay out late and have a blast if you’re joining the celebrations.

Some huge guest stars will be appearing at the festival. Headlining is Amanda Palmer of punk cabaret band The Dresden Dolls, appearing for two weekend shows.

A twentieth-anniversary production of queer rock musical Rent will be playing from February 1 to 11, directed by Tim Hill.

Throughout the festival, a huge selection of comedy, visual art, theatre and music shows will appear at the Powerhouse, all celebrating queer culture and artists.

Melt 2017 runs Wednesday January 25 to Sunday February 5. Check out the Powerhouse for event information and tickets.

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