CANBERRA’S SpringOUT festival has been providing the LGBTI community of the city — and the Australian Capital Territory as a whole — with a pride festival since 1999.
The festival’s chair and creative director Mat Knobel says it is also an opportunity to unite the LGBTI community and the broader community.
[showads ad=MREC]“The Canberra SpringOUT Pride Festival is a festival that provides the LGBTIQ community with a time in the year where they can outwardly show their pride and celebrate diversity,” he says.
“The festival also serves as a vehicle for the non-LBBTIQ residents of the ACT and surrounds to engage with our community.
“It is an amazing event that puts on some of the largest — and we hope most fun — events in the territory.”
SpringOUT begins on the last day of October with Fair Day, where Westside Acton Park will come alive with markets, music, drag queens, live entertainment, and children’s activities. Afterwards, there are a range of events and activities on offer for the rest of November.
“It is an aim for the organisers of this festival to ensure it has a relevant and important place on the ACT’s cultural calendar… it continues to grow and that can only be a great thing,” Knobel says.
This year, Royal Australian Air Force Group Captain Catherine McGregor — the world’s highest-ranking trans* military official — is SpringOUT’s inaugural patron.
“As the festival aims to celebrate diversity, equality, and acceptance, we could not think of a better person,” Knobel says.
He says a highlight of SpringOUT is Bushdance, an opportunity for everyone to dust off their hat, polish their boots and grab their rhinestones.
“It’s a fun night of dancing to a live band who will lead you through dances such as Strip the Willow, the Waves of Bondi and more,” Knobel says.
“Taking place once again at the Yarralumla Woolshed, this event is run by the Canberra Gay and Lesbian Tennis Association and is one of the blue ribbon events on our calendar, attracting visitors from across the local area and interstate.
“Across the month, there will be events that will make you want to dance, bake, sing, run, cheer, think and create… the festival is a cultural celebration of our community and aims to showcase all that makes our community the amazing one that it is.”
According to Knobel, at the end of the day it’s the sense of community that SpringOUT thrives on.
“There are many different groups that make our local community the beautiful and diverse community that it is,” he says.
“One of the aims in co-ordinating our program for this year’s festival was to ensure we represented all facets of our community.
“In doing this, I think we send a strong and positive message that the Canberra SpringOUT Pride Festival is an inclusive event for all.”
Canberra SpringOUT Pride Festival is on October 31 to November 28. For full details, visit springout.com.au
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SpringOUT isn’t the only pride festival that will cap off 2015 in style. There are a number of other pride events happening around the country in the lead-up to the new year:
• PrideFest (November 6 – November 22): To help celebrate the silver anniversary of Pride Western Australia, this Perth festival will combine community, performance and arts events, culminating in the annual Pride Parade. Details: pridewa.com.au/pridefest
• Out in the Open (November 6 – November 8): As Shepparton in Victoria’s newest festival celebrating community diversity, it will include a fun carnival day and aims to help build a more inclusive community. Details: outintheopen.org.au
• TasPride (November 6 – 15): This year the rainbow flag will be flown for the first time from Hobart’s Town Hall in celebration of TasPride. The theme this year is fittingly, “Somewhere Over The Rainbow”. Details: taspride.com
• Tropical Fruits (December 29 – January 1): This four-day festival in Lismore, NSW will help you ring in the New Year with a “superfreaks” theme that will see you fighting for truth, justice, and equality on the dance floor of love. Details: tropicalfruits.org.au
**This article was first published in the November edition of the Star Observer, which is available to read in digital flip-book format. To obtain a physical copy, click here to find out where you can grab one in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide, Canberra and select regional/coastal areas.