CHILLOUT Festival in the Victorian town of Daylesford may be the biggest regional LGBTI cultural event in Australia, but there are many others to look forward to in the months leading up to it.
In Victoria itself, LGBTI pride celebrations are thriving in country regions.
The festival grew out of a local LGBTI youth group looking to promote greater diversity and inclusion in the community, and has become a major public event on the town’s calendar.
With a range of events across three days, the festival has achieved success in previous years by being very much integrated into the wider Shepparton community.
Like ChillOut, Out in the Open is also expected to attract huge crowds from Melbourne and the broader Victorian LGBTI communities.
Organisers have said the Shepparton festival aims to be more youth-focused than the one in Daylseford, making both the events part of a breadth of LGBTI culture in rural Victoria.
Meanwhile on the northern coast of NSW, organisers are preparing to showcase the region during the popular CoastOut in October and Tropical Fruits over New Year’s Eve.
It will be the fifth year Coffs Harbour is hosting CoastOut festival, which has grown immensely since its beginnings.
This year’s festival, which has a theme of “gold”, is jam-packed with things to do — everything from a beach party to a fair day and barefoot bowls, and much more.
Kicking off the three-day festival is the Welcome Party, a highlight that includes fabulous hosts and a live entertainment line up from around the nation, held under the Giant CoastOut Marquee by the water.
Other highlights of CoastOut include Fair Day, set in the beautiful surroundings of the Park Beach Reserve by the beach, which will then come alive at night with the first-ever Party in the Park.
Afterwards, the Hoey Moey will then be home to Sweet: The CoastOut Dance Party, which includes a line up of DJs and a spectacular light and production show thrown in.
On the final day, recover with Barefoot Bowls and Brekky, before wrapping up the weekend with the Beach Dance Party Finale at Park Beach Reserve.
Meanwhile, the long-running Tropical Fruits is not only a great way to ring in the new year in style, but it’s also a four-day LGBTI cultural celebration held in the city of Lismore in sub-tropical Northern NSW, an area often known as the Rainbow Region.
The highlights of the festival, which was established in 1988, include the Pride Parade, The Great Gastby-themed KISS New Year’s Eve party, as well as the ever-popular Pool Party on New Year’s Day.
Visitors from all over the east coast of Australia and beyond will also converge on Lismore Showgrounds to set up camp for the festival, so expect a true community feel and down-to-earth atmosphere.
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WHERE: Coffs Harbour, NSW
WHEN: October 24–26
Out in the Open
WHERE: Shepparton, Victoria
WHEN: November 14–16
WHERE: Lismore, NSW
WHEN: December 29–January 1
**This article first appeared in the October issue of the Star Observer. The November issue will hit the streets on Thursday, October 16. Click here to find out where you can grab your free copy in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide, Canberra and select regional areas.