Kristy Apps and the Shot Gun Shirleys
Kristy Apps and the Shot Gun Shirleys

The Sunshine Coast will turn all colours of the rainbow with the 6th Annual Sunshine Coast Pride Festival.

This year’s Festival is set to be the biggest Festival in its short history. The Pride Festival aims to celebrate the region’s diversity by bringing together the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ) community and their family and friends in a fun and supportive environment.

The event began back in 2008 and from its humble beginnings, has grown to become a three-day Festival, covering multiple events. The Sunshine Coast Pride Festival is now the largest Pride event for the gay community in Queensland outside of Brisbane.

In its first year as a Festival, Sunshine Coast Pride Festival was the only regional event nominated for “Best Annual Event” at the Queen’s Ball Awards.

The official Pride Festival website at now shows all the details concerning the official Festival events which are as follows:


“Our Festival’s theme this year is ‘celebrating diversity which is all about celebrating our differences, as well as common interests, to help overcome ignorance and prejudice, thereby creating greater communities enriched by respect, dignity and inclusiveness,” says Paul Ferguson, Chair of the Festival’s Organising Committee.

The Festival will be for the first time, supporting a local community group by donating part of the proceeds from the Festival. “Given we rely so much on community support to make our Festival possible, it was time for us to start giving back to the local Sunshine Coast Community,” says Paul Ferguson. “We are pleased to be associated with Headspace this year, who provides great support to the youth of the Sunshine Coast, including LGBTIQ youth.”

Headspace – the National Youth Mental Health Foundation helps young people who are going through a tough time. See:

The opening event for the Festival is a Film Night, where guests have the opportunity to enjoy a movie that generally isn’t catered for in mainstream cinema. This year’s film Night is being proudly sponsored by Amnesty International Australia and Care Connect and the Festival organisers thank both organisations for showing their support for our event.

“This year we wanted to do something a little different and the two movies selected are certainly different” Paul goes on to say.

To further highlight the issue and the work being done to overcome the obstacles and barriers, there will be a panel discussion following the screening. This discussion will be chaired by Gai Lemon – Director of Healthy Communities Programs for the Queensland Aids Council.  Gai is part of the Ageing in Diversity Action Groups who met regularly in Brisbane, Gold Coast and the Sunshine Coast to discuss this issue with Aged Care sector service providers, member of the senior LGBTIQ community, their family, friends and carers.

The second movie is more light-hearted and showcases one example of how the LGBTIQ community gives back to the community. “Queen of the Desert is a great movie that shows how one person can make such a difference,” says Paul.

QUEEN OF THE DESERT  Not only has she got pink extensions, painted on eyebrows, glitter stockings and superman hotpants, but Starlady’s also a youth worker in some of Australia’s most remote and challenging places. And she reckons that hairdressing can improve people’s lives. Like a real-life Priscilla, Starlady takes us on a Queen of the Desert journey to Areyonga, an indigenous community in Central Australia, where she’ll work with a group of curious and cheeky young people.

The signature event for the Festival is its Fair Day. This year, the Festival has moved to its new home at The Original Eumundi Markets which is the event sponsor for Fair Day. “The support they have provided our Festival is second to none and we are truly appreciative of their efforts,” says Paul.

Monica Fusions will be making her return appearance as MC for the Fair Day and will bring the glitz and the glamour the event deserves. “I love coming to the Sunny Coast and supporting Pride – it is always a fabulous event,” Monica says.

The entertainment line-up is truly reflective of the LGBTIQ diversity and ranges from urban folk to dance/pop. Keeping in mind that Fair Day is a family-friendly event, there is heaps of entertainment for the kids with face painting, a jumping castle and more on offer to keep them entertained throughout the day. The entertainment not only showcases some local talent but also bands from interstate and of international reputation.

Fair Day is also the bringing together of various organisations that support the LGBTIQ community. This year, Fair Day will have over 40 stallholders, ranging from health providers, tourism bodies, and not-for-profit and commercial companies.  In addition to these stallholders, for the first time, there will be a Pride Trail, involving about 40 stallholders from the Original Eumundi Markets. These stalls will have rainbow flags flying and anyone making a purchase from a participating stall will receive a Pride Token that will put them in the draw to win a huge hamper of donated items from the stallholders. The hamper would be valued in excess of $2,000.

One of the highlights of Fair Day is the Awards Ceremony which is now in its second year. This year, the Festival is acknowledging three individuals who have offered valued services over the years to the Sunshine Coast gay community and beyond. The Awards go to Ricki Menzies (Local Hero Award); Shelley Argent (Lifetime Pride Award) and the Hon Anna Bligh (Pride Spirit Award). Both Ricki and Shelley will receive their Awards on the main stage at the Eumundi Amphitheatre at 11 am. Anna Bligh was presented with her award last weekend in Sydney.

Back by popular demand, the Pride After Party will make a return at Pride Festival 2014.

“We couldn’t be happier to be able to bring this event back to Festival. We haven’t had an After Party for a couple of years, and people had been asking for one given the lack of gay nightlife on the Coast – although that is changing slowly” says Paul Ferguson, Chair of the Organising Committee.

Early on the Festival was approached by Danielle Delaite’s management to see if there was an opportunity for her to perform on the back of her Asia-American tour. Given her reputation on the dance club charts in the USA, it was an opportunity the Festival couldn’t turn down. “Keeping in mind we wanted to be able to showcase Danielle in the right environment, we were so pleased to be able to secure The Reef Hotel as our venue for the After Party,” says Paul.

Danielle will also be accompanied by some dancing boys from Male Basics Underwear, adding an extra attraction for party-goers attending the After Party.

The glitz and the glamour of the After Party will be reinforced by Drag Queen performances by Monica Fusions and Martini Ice. Monica will be handing over the MC duties to Martini who will join the entertainment line-up for the 2014 Festival for the first time.

“Nighttime entertainment for the LGBTIQ Community on the Coast is a bit lacking so it was important to be able to bring this event back. And to have Martini Ice come up from the Gold Coast to MC and perform is fantastic. Things are slowly changing on the Coast in regards to nighttime events for the gay and lesbian community, we need more and hopefully, the After Party will be a catalyst for a few other things to happen in the future.” says Paul.