From humble beginnings, the ChillOut Festival has grown to become one of the biggest and longest-running Country Queer Pride events in regional Australia, and the largest festival in Hepburn Shire.
In 2016, ChillOut promises something for everyone with over 30 events programmed over the long weekend from comedy to cabaret, food & wine, the popular Bush Dance, the Street Parade, and Carnival. Australian Pride Network takes a look at a few events to whet your appetite.
Opening Night Festivities
Daylesford Town Hall: 11 March 2016
Friday night kicks off with Mojo Juju at the Daylesford Town Hall heralding in a festival with a pinch of Bessie Smith, a sniff of Cab Calloway mixed with several shots of Tom Waits and Jack White. Supported by Kerryn Fields, Mojo Juju will get the place jumping!
The Rhinestone Cowgirl – Maureen’s Country and Western Show
The Grande Hotel, Hepburn Springs: 11 March 2016
Get ready for some bootscootin ‘fun & heart breakin’ melodies from some of the greats of Country & Western music including… Dolly Parton, Linda Ronstadt, Melissa Etheridge, K.D.Lang, Dusty Springfield, Patsy Cline, Loretta Lynne, Tammy Wynette, Loggins & Messina… and more!
The Bassey: The Jewel in the Crown
The Savoia Hotel, Hepburn Springs: 11 March 2016
Hosted by Lance Deboyle and Gabriella Labucci, The Bassey is thrilled to bring you the inaugural crowning of the King and Queen of ChillOut 2016. Cheer on contestants from across the country, as they proudly represent their town/city for a night of camp pageantry fun.
Pimm’s Pop-Up Garden Party
The Convent Gallery: 12 & 13 March 2016
With the bunting hung, the hedges trimmed, the silverware polished… You’re ready to celebrate the sunset with friends atop Wombat Hill at a lush afternoon affair of pleasures in our garden of English delights. With a Pimm’s in one hand, a Weiner in the other (with lashings of sauce and sauerkraut), kick-back, relax or challenge a chum to a myriad of lawn games.
Daylesford ARC: 12 March 2016
Ballarat Roller derby are back again, for another action packed afternoon of Derby! A highly charged full contact game that pits teams against each other to score points while speeding around an oval track on roller skates. Come and watch them compete against each other at high speed…
Daylesford Town Hall: 12 March 2016
Showcasing of fabulous performers; writers, singers and comedians from Melbourne’s diverse queer parenting community including: Amanda Morris, Asphyxia, Paula Dowse, Michael Dalton, Razz Berry Muffin and your Mommie Queerest hostess Kelly Parry.
The Laugh OUT Loud Big Gay Comedy Night
The Convent Gallery: 12 & 13 March 2016
Now back for its sixth fabulous year, LOL Comedy brings you the brightest and freshest comedy talents as well as showcasing your favourite stars from radio, stage and screen. A show bag of the best in Australian GLBTI and GLBTI-friendly comedy and cabaret stars. Not to be missed!
Dayleford Town Hall: 12 March 2016
Grab your partner, pull on those dancing boots, don your best Akubra and button up that checked shirt. Its time to Strip the Willow and get on down for some major foot-stomping and yee-haa-ing. Tamworth Golden Guitar winners The Cartwheels drive the dance tunes and caller Martin Hungerford will whip the crowd into action with his contagious enthusiasm.
ChillOut Street Parade
Vincent Street, Daylesford: 13 March 2016
Get out your denim – adorn yourself with diamonds. Get on down to the Parade! Free family fun for all ages with surprises galore. The best celebration of LGBTIQ pride that is possible to muster. Whether you are a participant or a spectator, this is a huge morning of entertainment and fun in celebration of the diversity of the region, the state and the country.
Victoria Oark, Daylesford: 13 March 2016
With all the fun of the fair, Carnival Day features multiple Golden Guitar winner Beccy Cole and Australia’s sweethearts of rock and pop, The Chantoozies, as well as gay disco rockers, The Blow Waves. They will be joined on stage by the fabulous Dolly Diamond and Luke Gallagher as well as special surprise guests and adventures throughout the day. Cheer on the Melbourne Charges in the Rugby 7s Tournament, wander through the market, checkout the cake decorating competition or enter your fabulous pooch in the ChillOut Dogshow – there’s plenty of fun for everyone!
The Grande Hotel, Hepburn Springs: 13 March 2016
SuperGirly and her man slave ‘Bradley Cooper’ are back for some more pop celebrity annihilation. An all-singing, all-glamour ‘laughfest’ that skewers the tabloid-shifting celebs and pop-singers – right through their shallow hearts and to the tune of their own songs – delivered by an adorably insane character who secretly just wants to be one of them!
“Over 4 days, Daylesford is packed with exciting adventures for you to uncover and fabulous fun to indulge in,” says Chillout’s Festival Director, Merryn Tinkler. “Denim and Diamonds abound and highlight the abundance of diversity that we are here to celebrate.”
The 2016 ChillOut Festival runs 11 – 14 March. For more information and to view the full program, visit: www.chilloutfestival.com.au for details.
Image: ChillOut Festival Parade – photo by Philip Buchanan