Melbourne’s annual Midsumma festival is gearing up for the 2009 summer season with Sunday, January 18 announced for Carnival Day and registration for stallholders now available online.

Adam Lowe, general manager of Midsumma, said festival organisers are now in full swing, with a renewed focus on community events.

Midsumma is celebrating its 21st year in 2009 with the theme A Queer Coming of Age aiming to turn a critical eye on the role the broader gay community plays in our society.

There are new ideas floating around about Carnival Day… revitalised ideas around trying to bring it back to more of what it once was, in the way of a community day, says Lowe.

The -˜Queer Coming of Age’ for me is about us taking responsibility for ourselves. It’s the time when you kind of leave home and you become your own person.. I think it’s following on from 2008 in terms of where are we and where did we come from? And if that’s where we came from, who are we and how are we taking responsibility for ourselves?, he says.

Lowe says the festival is also looking at building relationships outside the community and looking at issues of inclusiveness that are not just queer, but more mainstream.

I think it’s good to remind everybody that Midsumma is an umbrella festival and one of my focuses has been to underline that and it looks like that’s working in a way, positively.

Numbers of registrations from community groups have been larger than expected, however submissions for scripts and volunteer positions are still open for Pink Shorts, the annual queer short play competition.

Lowe says the upcoming queer visual arts exhibitions in various spots around the city form one of the strongest programs we’ve presented. There will also be a strong music program with live music getting the full treatment in 2009.

To register as a stallholder for Carnival Day go to

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