Our 15th anniversary Bear Essentials festival is now in full swing, with tonight’s (February 23) Play Party at our special venue at 273 Lower Campbell St, Surry Hills.

Taking the term ‘full swing’ to a new level will be cub DJ Kam Shafaati providing the dark, dirty sexy beats and the Bears of the world providing the action!

Bear Essentials has grown from a handful of events spread over a few days to one that now comprises more than 20 events running parallel to Mardi Gras for two weeks. As the largest Bear festival in the southern hemisphere, Bear Essentials is now an important part of Mardi Gras — providing diversity and alternative events that complement the ‘traditional’ Mardi Gras program.

Following our successful launch underneath the Bear Tree at Fair Day, we had a fantastic opening night of the Bears Artspace on Monday evening. Many of the works on display from the 15 chosen artists are beautiful, inspiring or thought-provoking. Arstpace runs until March 2 at Monstrosity Gallery, 93 Bourke St, Woolloomooloo.

This Friday (February 25) sees our annual Wet Furr Pool Party. Squeeze into your togs and head down to Cook & Phillip Aquatic Centre for 7pm — but watch out for wandering paws in the hydro-pool! After the pool party, all roads lead to the Oxford Hotel for our special Scruff Charity party where we’ll have raffle tickets, giveaways and go-go daddies dancing on the bar, all to benefit the wonderful work of the Inspire Foundation who help young people enjoy a good life.

Our Bears of the World theme is backed up this year by an impressive array of overseas DJs who’ll play at our events. We welcome to Sydney Corey Craig from New York City, Tim McLoone resident DJ at London’s infamous Megawoof party, international circuit kub Barney Philly from Philadelphia, Rotten Robbie from San Francisco, plus Mike Kelly and DJs Big General and Bramsterdam from Europe for this Saturday’s Furball party.  Woof and Happy Mardi Gras!

info: Visit www.bearessentials.com.au

By JONNY BASTIN, Harbour City Bears.

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