Zoe Badwi, Ruby Rose and more than 100 musicians and artists will join Australia’s premier queer arts festival, Midsumma, for its 25th anniversary next year. It’s shaping up to be bigger than ever and kicks off with the festival’s single largest event, the Midsumma Carnival. When the sun goes down, it’s time to head to one of the two opening celebration parties, the Gold Party or T-Dance. After the opening night shenanigans have wound down, the three-week festival rolls out its 130 shows, exhibitions and events to pick and choose from before it draws to a close on February 3. There are 10 premier events to check out as must-sees, such as Vieux Carré, once Carnival, T Dance and the Gold Party have finished.
Birrarung Marr, January 13, 11am-6pm
Midsumma’s opening soiree, the Midsumma Carnival will showcase the festival’s line-up for next year and bring together the whole community. A whooping 120,000 people flooded the sun-kissed 2012 Carnival in Birrarung Marr. This year, organisers have unveiled a new edition to Carnival with the ‘Speakers Corner’. This shady corner of the park will allow various members of the community to get on the soapbox and voice their views all afternoon. On the Main Stage, artists on the festival bill will be offering performance samples to help decide what to see over the three weeks. The Community Stage returns with JOY 94.9 FM broadcasting throughout the day. Our four-legged friends will get their time to shine with the high-camp dog show during the afternoon. Stall spots sold out this year so there will be plenty of stalls to peruse from including community organisations and gay-friendly companies. Of course, the bars will be flowing for anyone who wants a cheeky drink to celebrate.
Birrarung Marr, January 13. 5-10pm
Melbourne’s premier dance party under the stars has pulled out all the stops for next year’s post-Carnival celebrations. She doesn’t need an introduction but the fabulous Zoe Badwi is coming home from LA for this year’s T-Dance and sure to perform festival favourites like Freefallin, Carry Me Home and Release Me. MTV presenter and DJ Ruby Rose has played at some of the best clubs and festivals around the world and will be presenting her new summer anthem, Guilty Pleasure. UK DJ Wayne G played alongside Grace Jones in 1996 at London’s infamous Red Heart party. He has played all over the world and will be heading down to Melbourne to work his magic. DJ M.A.F.I.A has warmed up crowds to Missy Elliott, N.E.R.D, Ice Cube and Lady Gaga and is guaranteed to throw it down like a pro. Melbourne DJ Mike Evans has supported classics like Boney M and Kim Wilde and has been a staple in most of Melbourne’s gay clubs such as the Market, Love Machine, the Peel and the Rogue Parties. Adelaide DJ L’il Miss K will set the crowd on fire while Midsumma’s DJ Search winner will be unveiled, giving the up-and-coming DJ an opportunity of a lifetime.
Vieux Carré @ fortyfivedownstairs
PREMIER EVENT, January 17 – February 3
Vieux Carré is pegged as the most autobiographical play by American playwright Tenessee Williams as it follows a St. Louis writer who moves into a New Orleans boarding house and struggles with his homosexuality, loneliness, poverty and career. With time, the young man meets the menagerie of sad and eclectic house mates who are dealing with imminent death, drug addiction, sexuality and hunger. ITCH Productions will present the Australian premiere of Vieux Carré as part of the Midsumma Festival.
Williams began writing the play in the 1930s but did not complete it until more than 40 years later.
Director Alison Bishop travelled to actual room where the young Williams lived in at 722 Toulouse St in New Orleans’ French Quarter and has tapped into the character of the city and its people for inspiration. The show also draws on the rich musical history of New Orleans jazz and blues. Vieux Carré is performed at fortyfivedownstairs from January 17.