Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras are bringing the party back just in time for Pride Month with the launch of their new event, Mardi Gras Pride Weekender, taking place over Friday 18 – Saturday 19 June 2021 at iconic Sydney venue, The Metro Theatre.
The two-day extravaganza, taking place as part of Sydney Solstice, features four fabulous events designed to get you singing, dancing, thinking, laughing, and most importantly, celebrating!
“Last year in our largest survey of members and the community, respondents said they wanted more events, more partnerships and more opportunities for our communities to come together to connect and foster self-expression all year round,” said Mardi Gras CEO Albert Kruger. “Pride Weekender is just the next stage of Mardi Gras delivering even more for the LGBTQI+ community throughout the year.”
We have some phenomenal events lined up to celebrate Pride Month that range from insightful talks, My Drag Story and Queer Thinking: Religious Discrimination and the Fights Ahead, to pumping nights of live entertainment with Express Yourself – Queer Discovery and the return of an old favourite, Spin-Off DJ Discovery and dance party.”
“As well as providing opportunities for people in the community to come together, it’s important that Mardi Gras acts as a platform to uplift and give opportunities to the next generation of LGBTQI+ artists and entertainers. And that’s why Express Yourself and Spin-Off are key components of Mardi Gras Pride Weekender,” said Kruger.
The momentous weekend is the first time since the 1980s that Mardi Gras has staged large-scale celebrations for Pride Month. Mardi Gras Pride Weekender will also mark the grand re-opening of the Metro Theatre since its closure in early 2020.
The four stellar events for Mardi Gras Pride Weekender include:
Express Yourself – Queer Discovery
Friday 18 June 2021: 7.00pm – 9.00pm
Get set for a spectacular night of music with the second edition of Express Yourself – Queer Discovery, a joint initiative between Mardi Gras and APRA AMCOS to showcase emerging LGBTQI+ artists. Following the event’s success last year, Express Yourself is back with beloved Australian singer-songwriter Alex The Astronaut headlining a night of incredible live music, alongside four emerging LGBQTI+ musicians.
The emerging artists slated to perform on the night include Sydney based rapper and producer BVT, Brisbane alternative pop-rocker Hope D, Melbourne electro-pop artist NIK NAVY, and super singer/songwriter duo No Frills Twins from Sydney. Presenter, producer and DJ Faustina Agolley will be on hosting duties for the evening.
At the end of the series, a panel of judges will select two of the emerging artists to perform at an upcoming Mardi Gras event. The judging panel will see folktronica singer Gordi, national treasure Marcia Hines, APRA AMCOS CEO Dean Ormston, Mardi Gras CEO Albert Kruger and special guest judge Starley.
Queer Thinking: Religious Discrimination and the Fights Ahead (in partnership with Equality Australia)
Saturday 19 June 2021: 1.00pm – 2:30pm
Whether it’s attempts to ‘cure’ individuals or experiences of discrimination at school or work, LGBTQI+ people face threats to their safety and wellbeing every day in the name of religion. Gather your thoughts and join Mardi Gras in discussion at Queer Thinking: Religious Discrimination and the Fights Ahead, a forum where LGBTQI+ people of faith, religious leaders and activists discuss what it takes to build a strong movement for equality that includes us all.
The panel line-up includes: Karen Pack, a teacher who was sacked by a Sydney Christian college for being gay; Equality Australia Legal Director Ghassan Kassisieh; Australlia’s first gay Iman Nur Wasame; Australia’s first transgender priest Jo Inkpin and Dr Kerryn Phelps.
This special event presented in partnership by Mardi Gras and Equality Australia is an opportunity for the LGBTQI+ community to share their ideas and experiences on faith, sexuality and gender. Bring your rage, your solidarity and your curiosity and learn how you can help ensure that we are all free to work, study and live with dignity. This is a free event but registration is essential due to COVID-19 regulations.
My Drag Story
Saturday 19 June 2021: 3:30pm – 5.00pm
Delve deeper into the world of drag at My Drag Story, an opportunity to go beyond drag in the mainstream and discover what’s beyond the painted façade of our drag community. Leave behind your ideas of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert and Ru-Paul’s Drag Race and settle in as some of your favourite queens, kings and gender-defying royals reveal their personal histories onstage.
Presented by Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras in association with FEM Presents and curated by Anthony Carthew (aka Amelia Airhead), My Drag Story is a timely celebration of drag’s subversive roots during Pride Month. Hear about the lives of some of your favourite drag stalwarts as well as up-and-coming performers including BeeDazzled Shanks, Miss 3D, Dorreen Manganini, Minnie Cooper and Dizzy Bility.
Saturday 19 June 2021: 6.00pm – 12.00am
Making its grand return in 2021, DJ competition Spin-Off is being reignited in search of Australia’s next generation of LGBTQI+ DJs. The event provides a platform for bedroom producers and amateur mixers to get behind the decks in front of a party audience, battling it out for the chance to perform at a future Mardi Gras event.
A community favourite since the noughties and ‘10s, this epic night of electronica promises the perfect mix of nostalgia and new faces. Don’t miss out on a new era of celebrations. Winners will have the chance to perform at Mardi Gras Party in 2022, with the competition being judged by Australian DJ royalty, including Kate Monroe, Feisty, Seymour Butz and Charlie Villas. Applications are now open HERE and will close at 5.00pm on Friday 4 June 2021.
Mardi Gras Pride Weekender is a part of Destination NSW’s Sydney Solstice – a new winter event celebrating Sydney’s world-class food and beverage, music, entertainment, arts and culture.
The Mardi Gras Pride Weekender takes place Friday 18 – Saturday 19 June 2021 at The Metro Theatre, 624 George Street, Sydney. For more information and to book tickets, visit: www.mardigras.org.au for details.
Image: No Frills Twins (supplied)