The third annual Geelong Rainbow Festival is scheduled to take place in February 2020, with organisers projecting it will be “bigger and better” than ever before.
Launched in 2018 by Geelong Rainbow Inc., a volunteer-led non-profit organisation serving the LGBTQI community in Geelong and the Barwon region, the festival attracted thousands of attendees in 2019, with almost a thousand participating in the pride march in Johnstone Park alone.
This year, as well as a family-friendly fair day and pride march, the festival included an assortment of events over four days, such as drag shows, queer film screenings and a dance party.
Co-President of Geelong Rainbow Inc., Wayne Landkroon, told the Star Observer the festival is about “overcoming prejudice” in Victoria’s second largest city and “showing the wider community that we are a part of them and that we want to share what we have to offer”.
“It’s an opportunity to create a safe and inclusive environment for people who identity as LGBTQI to be themselves and be with people who understand the challenges we face,” Landkroon said.
Organising such a large event hasn’t been without its challenges. “We are a committee of three and so much of the activity and organisation is done in our spare time,” he said.
“Red tape in terms of policies and paperwork are always challenging but we have developed a great rapport with decisionmakers to assist us in making the festival a reality.”
Geelong Rainbow Inc. are inviting organisations, businesses and community groups to show their support for Geelong’s LGBTQI community by sponsoring the festival in 2020, with sponsorship packages starting at $1000.
Performers are welcome to apply to be part of the fair day, with priority given to LGBTQI people. All types of performances will be considered, and LGBTQI Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islanders are encouraged to apply.
According to Geelong Rainbow Inc., the turn-out in 2019 tripled that of 2018 and is expected to grow in 2020, with organisers anticipating the festival will become a week-long event in the coming years.
The Geelong Rainbow Festival will take place from 7 February 7 to 10 February 2020. If you would like to support or be a part of the festival, you can find them on Facebook at Geelong Rainbow Inc.