THE program for next year’s Midsumma Festival was launched in Melbourne last night, amid speeches and a handful of preview performances.

For its 30th anniversary Midsumma will play host to more than 130 events, installed or performed by over 1,200 culture-makers, in more than 70 venues and outdoor spaces around the city.

Midsumma chief executive Karen Bryant said the upcoming festival will be about broadening the diversity and laying the foundation for what the team has planned for future years.

“We’re really looking to the future,” she said.

“We want to be actively engaged and we want to proactively have a role to play in the cultural landscape of the city.

“We’re also going to announce talks and forums closer to the festival around communities we feel have been underrepresented in previous years – we’ll do stuff on Indigenous issues, and arts and disability.”

Bryant added that in light of the debates around marriage equality and Safe Schools, it’s important to celebrate our community more than ever.

“I think it’s perfect timing for communities to come together and celebrate and talk and share, because it’s an important time for us to increase our visibility,” she said.

The program features high-octane theatre, burlesque to brusque cabaret, music, dance, film, talks, sports, hubs, and social events.

The three-week festival will be punctuated by three free signature events – Midsumma Carnival, the Midsumma Pride March, and the new art party Midsumma Horizon at the Testing Grounds.

State Labor MP Harriet Shing believes having a festival like this is important for everyone in the community.

“Having a festival that’s devoted to our communities and what we have to offer, and is truly representative of the amazing spectrum that is us is really super important,” she said.

“Especially when the world can seem like a hostile place… when you’re exposed to the media on a daily basis that seems to not understand that people like us just want to be able to do our thing.

“Being as inclusive as possible through programs like this is such an important step forward, because we can always do better and be more inclusive.

“This is another amazing step towards the future of recognising everyone on the terms they want to be recognised.”

Read the full 2017 Midsumma Festival program and purchase tickets here.


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