Midsumma Pride marchMidsumma kicks off Melbourne’s arts and festival calendars for 2016.

The 29th Midsumma Festival kicked off yesterday with a carnival in Melbourne’s Alexandra Gardens to celebrate the colour and diversity of gender and sexuality in the community.

This year, Midsumma will run between 17 January and 7 February 2016 and features 145 events spanning exhibitions, theatre, live music, film, and social and community events. Midsumma kicks off Melbourne’s arts and festival calendars for 2016 and is one of the world’s top 5 LGBTI festivals.

The festival opens with Midsumma Carnival, a celebration day that welcomes over 100,000 people from diverse gender and sexual communities. The carnival features a full day of free entertainment, excitement, glitz and colour with over 130 stallholders, mainstage entertainment and activities, and a large sporting precinct.

Everyone who supports diverse gender and sexuality is welcomed, and the festival attracts audiences from throughout Victoria, interstate, and overseas.  The 2016 National Water Polo League Pride Cup will this year feature as a significant event, joining Midsumma Pride March, Carnival and T Dance as some of the festival’s highlights.

Newly appointed Chair of Midsumma, John Caldwell, says that he feels an absolute sense of pride with the 29th Midsumma Festival kicking off.

“Midsumma Carnival is such a great lead into what will be an amazing festival. Whilst I love the overall vibe of carnival, I find the connection that the day brings most inspiring. Carnival offers people from various backgrounds the opportunity to unite as one.”

“It also allows organisations to connect with the community and corporations to show their support for the LGBTQI community. It’s a wonderful way to bring people together in unity,” he says.

“I can’t wait to see everyone enjoying themselves, sharing stories, meeting new people and exploring the many joys that carnival brings. There is something for everyone, from the family zone to the dog show and the 130 stalls in between.”

John reminds Carnival goers that despite Carnival being such a unique and significant event, the festival does not end here.

“Carnival kicks off three weeks of events and shows set to delight and entertain. Midsumma is one of the world’s most unique cultural festivals offering the LGBTQI community the opportunity to express themselves freely. This year does not disappoint.”

John says that with such a jam-packed program, it is hard to highlight his favourites for the festival, but he cannot wait to see Carlotta. “For many years, I’ve adored Carlotta, so I can’t wait to see her show. She’s such an inspiration – as well as being the 29th Midsumma Festival’s champion along with Paul Zahra.”

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