THE sun is heating up, the days are getting longer, and beautiful people of all shapes and sizes are walking around Melbourne with less and less on.

Yep, it’s almost that time of the year when Midsumma takes over the city.

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The big event to kick off the three weeks of festivities is of course Carnival, which will be held once again in the beautiful surrounds of Alexandra Gardens after its triumphant return to the community-favourite venue at the 2014  festival.

As the sun goes down at the end of the day, the Carnival main stage is taken over by the amazing DJs of T-Dance — a free event for the second year in a row.

As always, the main program of Misdumma is jam-packed with world-class arts and culture. This year, 142 events will take place at 100 venues across the city, from theatre and music to visual arts and social events.

Fresh from graciously accepting a Midsumma Life Membership on behalf of alter ego Michael Dalton, Dolly Diamond will sashay into her most extravagant show yet: Dolly Diamond Under a Big Top. Dolly and her four-piece band will take over the Melba Spiegeltent for three nights only, promising backup singers, special guests and costume change after costume change.

Black Faggot, the award-winning theatre piece by Samoan-Kiwi playwright Victor Rodger is also coming to Midsumma, after acclaimed seasons at the Auckland, Melbourne and Edinburgh Fringe Festivals. Hilarious and poignant in equal measure, the show looks set to be the talk of the festival.

Another headlining theatre piece is Jumpers for Goalpoasts, from acclaimed UK playwright Tom Wells. Receiving five-star reviews for its recent London debut, the piece is about the ups and downs of team Barely Athletic, a member of a gay, lesbian and trans* football league.

Visual art will also get a good showing, as US photographer Charles Meacham documents LGBTI pride events around the world, from Israel to Romania, in Walk With Pride.

The program closes with Pride March, the first since the organisation merged with Midsumma earlier this year, showcasing the diversity and solidarity of the community in a parade along St Kilda’s Fitzroy St.

The past 12 months have been huge for Midsumma — alongside the merger with Pride March, July saw the launch of the very first Midwinta festival, to huge success.

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MIDSUMMA

WHEN: January 18–February 8

Details and bookings: www.midsumma.org.au

Major events:

Carnival: January 18, 11am-5pm

T-Dance: January 18, 5pm-10pm

Pride March: February 1, from 2pm

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