Mardi Gras launched its 40th anniversary festival program today- here’s the rundown:


In reflection of the 40 years of Mardi Gras, from the protests, festivals, and parties, this year’s celebration will be in the theme of 40 Years of Evolution. As one of the most important global queer events, Mardi Gras continues to be a cornerstone in the evolution of social justice and visibility. This year’s festival will celebrate the defining moments in queer history, with an exciting mix of rehashed icons, and brand new events.


This year’s program features a much wider lineup for family friendly events, a conscious choice by the organisers.


“We thought, ‘Wow, we really could be doing a lot more for rainbow families’,” said Creative Director Greg Clarke. “We’ve got to do more than just the kids space at Fair Day.”


So, there will be an absolute bargain of a Rainbow Families Day at Luna Park, with discoes, drag queens, and unlimited rides.


“Luna park were so keen to get on board,” said Mardi Gras CEO, Terese Casu. “We’re hoping people will ride their bikes over there and make a day of it.”


Greg also announced proudly that there will be a “relaxed, chill out zone,” at the Parade Party, so that old bones won’t have to miss out on the continued festivities. Greg refused to tease who might be on the bill for the party, just that they’re “inviting back key performers from the past 40 years.” So, with so much under wraps, it’s sure to be one for the books.


“We’ve been able to fit in everything that we wanted to do,” said Greg, so without further ado, here’s what’s in store:


Museum of Love and Protest:

The signature event for this year’s celebrations is an immersive and interactive exhibit, looking back over the amazing decades of LGBTI history. There’ll be original costumes, photographs, rarely seen video footage, iconic posters, storytelling, music, artefacts, and a family costume and ceramic art workshop.


When: 16 February- 4 March, with a special performance every Friday and Saturday evening.

Where: NAS Gallery, National Art School, Cnr Forbes and Burton Sts, Darlinghurst

Cost: FREE


Mardi Gala:

Trevor Ashley hosts a star studded lineup for a one night only performance at the Sydney Opera House to kick off the Mardi Gras season. With Todd McKenney, Carlotta, Paul Capsis, Joel Creasey, and Casey Donovan, Trevor Ashely will host a part concert, part chat show with a 14-piece orchestra, and an unmissable after party with incredible views of the harbor.

When: Saturday, 17th February

Where: Sydney Opera House Concert Hall, Bennelong Pnt, Sydney.

Cost: from $69, with $5 from every ticket going to the Mardi Gras grants program.


Fair Day:

Our favourite Mardi Gras tradition, Fair Day has something for everyone. This year, there’ll be a special space honouring the 78ers. There will also be DJs, the Sports Village, plenty of food, and the Doggywood dog competition.


When: Sunday 18th February

Where: Victoria Park, 1001 City Rd, Camperdown.

Cost: FREE


Queer Thinking:

Focusing on social justice, the Queer Thinking conference will host panels, talks, debates and stories from queer writers and community leaders. Hosted by 78er, Julie McCrossin, there will also be the Struggle and Sequins, Love and Life talk by representative of Trans Sydney Pride on Saturday, and stories from First Peoples at the Koori Gras Speakers Platform after the Koori Gras events that week.


When: 24th– 25th February

Where: Carriageworks, 245 Wilson St, Everleigh

Cost: TBA


Koori Gras:

A series of workshops, talks, and performances by and about First Peoples. There will be the Black Nulla workshop for First Peoples queer performers, with the opportunity to perform with the Black Nulla Cabaret. There will also be a discussion dinner, a speakers platform (Queer Thinking), and the Black Nulla Cabaret performance.


When: 19-24th February

Where: Carriageworks, 245 Wilson St, Everleigh

Cost: FREE (Black Nulla Cabaret performance tickets $15)


Sissy Ball:

One night only, Carriageworks will be transformed into a Vogue dancefloor, inspired by the New York underground ballroom scene.


When: Saturday 24th February

Where: Carriageworks, 245 Wilson St, Everleigh

Cost: TBA


Mardi Gras at the Seymour Centre

Featuring Strangers in Between, Mitzi Macintosh, Courtyard Sessions with LOTL Powerlister Rachel Maria Cox, and Playlist. Check out for the full program.


When: 15th February – 2nd March

Where: Seymour Centre, Cnr City Rd and Cleveland St, Chippendale.

Cost: Varied


Luna Park Family Fun Day:

Unlimited rides, kids’ glitter dance parties in the Crystal Palace, and surprise performances by some of our most loved Drag Queens.


When: Saturday, 24th February

Where: Luna Park, 1 Olympic Dr, Milson’s Point

Cost: $25


Pool Party:

The Ivy Pool Club is once again playing host to the gayest pool party in the calendar year, with local DJ’s, cabana lounges, and cocktails.


When: Monday, 26th February

Where: Ivy Pool Club, 4/320 George St, Sydney.

Cost: $55


Queer Art After Hours

Back for a second year, Queer Art After Hours will be bringing you queer performances and gallery tours for a look at some new queer artistic talent.


When: Wednesday 28th February

Where: Art Gallery of NSW, Art Gallery Rd, Sydney

Cost: FREE



Already, there are over 200 groups ready to march down Oxford St. Terese assures us that there will be a hark back to the iconic Lemonettes and Cowgirls just for the lesbians.


When: Saturday, 3rd March

Where: Oxford and Flinders Sts, Darlinghust

Cost: FREE


Mardi Gras Party:

If you’ve never been to the Mardi Gras Party, this is the year to do it. We’ve been told to expect big surprises. There will also be a relaxed zone to rest your feet and chat after the parade.


When: Saturday 3rd March, from 10pm

Where: Playbill Venues, Fox Studios, 1 Drive Ave, Moore Park

Cost: from $99



The best way to end Mardi Gras, Laneway is an honoured tradition that takes over the Beresford and Flinders Hotels and the street between them.


When: Sunday, 4th March

Where: Beresford and Flinders Hotels, Surrey Hills

Cost: from $75


Mardi Gras Film Festival:

Queer Screen is celebrating its 25th birthday, so this year’s film festival will be a huge celebration of queer film both new and old.


When: 15th February- 1st March

Where: Event Cinemas, 505-525 George St

Cost: Varied


There are over 100 more events in the Mardi Gras Festival Program, so head over to for a full list.



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