SUMMER is usually the season for most Australian LGBTI pride festivals, and for the community on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, it’s also the season for love.

“Love is Love” is the predominant theme of this year’s Sunshine Coast Pride Festival – returning for its seventh year – and according to organising committee member Chris Cooper, it’s a powerful message.

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“It is a catch phrase that has been promoted by the gay community around the world quite a bit lately. It is so simple, yet at the same time, it encompasses so much,” Cooper told the Star Observer.

“It is quite timely for Queenslanders as we now move into a new chapter of government that comes with certain specific promises to the gay community.

“Yes, there may be a political motive behind this statement, no different to when the Beetles were singing ‘all you need is love’.”

With the recent shift in the political winds of Queensland, Cooper hopes the festival can continue to raise the visibility of the region’s LGBTI community.

“There is no doubt that love is a great thing, it does not discriminate. Yet the expression of love is often subject to discrimination. Legislative changes in this regard are long overdue in this state,” Cooper said.

“We have been promised. So for this festival weekend we have decided that love is a simplicity, and not a complexity, and we are simply celebrating that.”

This year sees the festival’s Fair Day return to the iconic the Eumundi Markets.

“[Last year] they rolled out a red carpet for us that was too good to refuse, and a perfect marriage was created for both groups,” Cooper said.

“Our festival was given a great home with perfect facilities and unrivalled draw-cards of already existing infrastructure, food vendors, stage and ambiance.

“Being hosted by the Eumundi Markets has also helped to bring our festival into the mainstream and has added great credibility to our family-friendly event.

“Any person can come along and celebrate Pride regardless of which social community they may belong to.”

Fair Day will be held on Saturday and will including live entertainment by Kristy Apps and the Shotgun Shirleys, Felicity Burdett, Youthfire, comedy act the Ukulele Sisters and more.

Continuing to acknowledge the contributions made by prominent LGBTI community members and supporters, the festival committee will also present two awards recognising significant achievement.

Brian Day of the Sunshine Coast will be acknowledged for his life-long LGBTI advocacy efforts, while the second award will go to the Queensland Chapter of Dykes on Bikes for their support and fundraising efforts.

Sunshine Coast Pride Festival will also feature the opening night performance of Transgender Seeking, a critically-acclaimed play by performer Sunny Drake who appeared during Brisbane’s recent MELT Festival.

Fair Day revellers can also continue the love at the After Party held at the Reef Hotel in Noosa.

For those fragile heads the following morning, ChillOut will seek to cure your ails with a picnic in the park held at Lions Park in Coolum.

“The Pride Festival is much more than the Fair Day, with activities over the whole weekend,” Cooper said.

Festival chairman Paul Ferguson hopes the weekend will prove to be a great tourist drawcard for the LGBTI community to see the unique atmosphere of the Sunshine Coast.

Details and tickets: www.sunshinecoastpride.com.au

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