Fresh faces and feel-good favourites join line-up as ChillOut Festival approaches

The-Edge-Choir-of-HardKnocksAustralia’s most famous choir was introduced to the public in 2006 in the award-winning ABC TV series Choir of Hard Knocks.

Now in their 16th year, they continue on their amazing journey, with some of the original members from the award-winning documentary, to ChillOut Festival’s annual carnival day.

The choir is an incredible tool for members to overcome social isolation and homelessness through the joy and connection of singing.  

Also joining the line-up is queer, black electropop/alt artist, singer, songwriter, producer and dancer LION who recently wowed audiences at Big Sound festival and the Midsumma Festival Victoria’s Pride street party.  

They join a star-studded rainbow line-up including MCs Nate Byrne and Art Simone, Kate Miller-Heidke, Karen From Finance, The Lost Girls, Cerulean (Miss First Nation 2021), Jude Perl, Elektra Lite, Tuck Shop Ladies, Greg Gould, Freddie Merkin, Dean Arcuri, DJ Eddie, Diamond and York and DJ Du Jour.

Festival ambassadors Rudy Jean Rigg, Commissioner for LGBTQIA+ Communities Dr Todd Fernando, Sally Goldner and Jude Munroe will also make appearances. 

Festival Director Emma Ireland said that ChillOut Festival is for the whole LGBTQIA+ community, young and old, city and country. “We’re so excited that LION will bring his high energy, joyful performance to the stage in Daylesford,” said Emma.

The Choir of Hard Knocks rehearse weekly at St Michael’s Uniting Church Hall. The ongoing and regular contact the Choir of Hard Knocks provides to the members has had a profound effect on their lives, leading many of the original 52 back to either part time or full-time study or work.

Many had become socially excluded due to their socio-economic circumstances, and the choir has enabled them to acquire new skills and rebuild personal confidence and self-esteem, which Ms. Ireland said “is the goal of ChillOut Festival for the broader LGBTQIA+ community, and the essence of this year’s theme ‘Find Your Wings’.” 

“ChillOut Festival was founded on the principle of being a safe space for people to be themselves, connect, to create and celebrate community. The Choir of Hard Knocks is a gorgeous example of that in action,” said Emma.

“ChillOut is a space for people to overcome social isolation to connect with community. We are thrilled to have them perform to ChillOut Festival.”  

The full festival program features over fifty events running over five days around the villages of Daylesford and Hepburn Springs in Central Victoria’s spa country.

Events will range from large late night outdoor dance parties, circus, drag and comedy shows, and a Sunday morning street parade, to the more intimate, like art gallery exhibition, social drinks, speed dating, all gender sport events, and rainbow storytime. 

The 2023 ChillOut Festival runs 9 – 13 March. For more information and full program, visit: for details.

Image: The Choir of Hard Knocks (supplied)