Hundreds of people have registered interest in an alternative Mardi Gras fringe festival that’s already attracted the likes of Ladyhawke and Snatch & Grab to the line-up.

The Alternative to Mardi Gras Fringe Festival began as an idea for a flyer publicising queer acts that had missed out on a spot under the New Mardi Gras banner. It has grown rapidly, with over 500 people registering with the group’s Facebook page within a week.

“People are dissatisfied, that’s why this has come about,” one of the organisers, Gurlesque performer Glitta Supernova, said.

“This fringe festival has come to life from that huge gap in queer creative Sydney that Mardi Gras isn’t taking advantage of.

“The vision is about wanting a more inclusive queer festival that speaks to you and makes you feel that you belong to a community.”

Events already signed on include performances from Gurlesque, an alternative Mardi Gras after-party at the Landsdowne Hotel, and a girl dance party hosted by Snatch & Grab and featuring DJ sets from Ladyhawke.
There are dozens more keen to take part, fellow organiser Juan Lamas said.

“There are so many of us — writers, performance artists and community groups. We may not be ‘internationally renowned’, we’re wog boys from Marrickville, princesses from Paddo, we’re good ol’-fashioned pooftas and lezzos,” he said.

“This is not a ‘fuck you’ festival,” Supernova stressed. “Mardi Gras is a great vehicle to see fantastic international artists you might not get a chance to see normally, but I feel there is also irrelevant stuff, events that are not queer and haven’t given to the queer community.”

New Mardi Gras has offered its support for the fringe festival idea. Co-chair Steph Sands posted on the group’s Facebook page, offering assistance if needed.

CEO Michael Rolik was also keen to speak to organisers and see if a partnership could be struck up in the future.
“We see this as being completely consistent and in line with our own objectives — to enable queer artistic expression,” Rolik told Sydney Star Observer.

“It’s great that there’s that level of passion and energy out there, and it’s being harnessed into a collective. It’s not something we would be able to cater for — we’ve got a two-week season that’s programmed with finite resources.”
The fringe organisers did not comment on whether they wanted NMG assistance, but Supernova thanked Sands for her post of support.

“That shows that this statement is speaking to a lot of different people from different walks of life, that some change has to come into this festival,” she said.

info: For more information, or to post information about your own event during Mardi Gras season, join the Alterna Fringe Facebook group.

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