Midsumma Carnival

Image by Nikki Russian Photography

The annual queer-day-out to kick start Midsumma Festival's 22 days of celebration

Midsumma Carnival highlights the opening weekend of the three-week Festival each year. It runs from 11am to 10pm on Sunday 21 January in the Alexandra Gardens, beside the Yarra River in Melbourne's CBD.

Showcasing our local and international artists and performers, with endless things to see, do, and eat your way through, Midsumma Carnival is an iconic full-day outdoor extravaganza dedicated to kicking off our three-week-long festival!

 

Quick Links:  Stages | Maps | Stalls | Access | Dog Show

Partners

Midsumma Carnival is an iconic full-day outdoor extravaganza dedicated to kicking off our three-week-long festival! Located in Alexandra Gardens in Melbourne’s bustling CBD, Midsumma Carnival features a vast array of LGBTQIA+ acts that will grace the four carnival stages: Main, Picnic, Sports and Family. This popular annual day event attracts over 120,000 people and entry is free!

With over 180 stalls including pop-up bars, two large food zones, free giveaways, and multiple queer-friendly community groups and business stalls for you to visit, there's bound to be something for everyone. There's even a parade for your dog, with awesome prizes up for grabs!

Midsumma Carnival offers a variety of fun safe spaces that are open and accessible to everyone from dawn to dusk, including sports activities, a youth area and a family-area.

Fancy a picnic? Bring your friends and family to one of our grass pavilions surrounding the stages to enjoy Carnival’s entertainment! Our talented artists will leave you in awe with a variety of singers, drag artists, DJs, performers, and even an opportunity to show off your own talents with our Lip Sync Limelight competition!

As the night approaches, Midsumma Carnival begins to wake up with an extravagant dance party held across both the Main and Picnic stages. You’ll join thousands of people dancing the night away and party to a huge line-up on each stage, including a handful of major headliners.

Scroll down to find out more details, including information about specific accessibility services in the MIDSUMMA CARNIVAL ACCESSIBILITY tab at the bottom of this page.

CARNIVAL MAIN STAGE

  • 11am DJ SET: JARV!S
  • 1pm Emcees Aurelia St Clair and Charlie Lewin
  • 1:10pm Fashioning Drag
  • 1:25pm Jess McAvoy from The Search by Jess McAvoy
  • 1:45pm Official Proceedings, including Welcome to Country | Judy Small - Midsumma Chair | NAB Rep | Harriet Shing - Minister for Housing, Water and Equality | Sally Capp - Lord Mayor City of Melbourne
  • 2:30pm Melbourne Rainbow Band
  • 2:50pm Michael Waugh from Michael Waugh 'We Are Here' in Concert
  • 3:10pm I Want It That Gay
  • 3:25pm DJ Set: Nick Spurway
  • 4:00pm Emcee Aysha Buffet
  • 4:10pm Woman of SALT
  • 4:25pm Cerulean from THH Queer Pool Party and First Nations Drag Festival
  • 5:15pm Slippery
  • 5:30pm Pride of Our Footscray Showcase with Gloss, Tilly Capulet, Sabrina ...
  • 5:45pm Aysha & House of Buffet
  • 6pm NIGHT PROGRAMMING COMMENCES
  • 6pm DJ SET: Butch Le Butch
  • 6:55pm DJ SET: Duchess Kay
  • 7:50pm ACT: HONŌUR
  • 8pm DJ SET: Gay Roberto
  • 8:53pm ACT: LION
  • 9:05pm DJ SET: Tinika
  • 10:00pm Event Finish

CARNIVAL PICNIC STAGE

  • 11am DJ SET: DJ Gay Dad
  • 1:00pm Emcee Nic Dorward
  • 1:10pm Historians Call Us Roommates
  • 1:30pm Fish Amethyst
  • 1:50pm Hufflepoof
  • 2:10pm Charity Steals from Charity Steal's - Neuro-die-cursed?
  • 2:25pm DJ SET and Dog Show DJ: Mon Franco
  • 3:00pm Dog Show hosted by Nic Dorward
  • 4:35pm DJ SET: Tom Foolery
  • 5:15pm Lip Sync Limelight hosted by Frock Hudson
  • 6:00pm NIGHT PROGRAMMING COMMENCES
  • 6:00pm Emcees Mel & Sam
  • 6:15pm DJ SET: Jandruze
  • 7:10pm ACT: Siân Brigid
  • 7:20pm DJ SET: House Mum
  • 8:10pm ACT: Jonni Homsey 
  • 8:20pm ACT: HOUSE OF DIESEL (Mikha & Coco) with Jonni Homsey
  • 8:30pm DJ SET: Dakila (formerly known as Shinobi)
  • 9:20pm PICNIC STAGE CLOSES

SPORTS PRECINCT PROGRAMMING

  • Emcee: Frock Hudson
  • 11am: Open and Welcome
  • 11:15am: Tug Of War
  • 11:30am: Tug Of War
  • 11:45am: Discussion - Combat Sports
  • 12:00pm: Discussion - Combat Sports
  • Emcee: Emily Fox
  • 12:15pm: Interview - Rainbow Golf
  • 12:30pm: Demo - Quadball Victoria
  • 12:45pm: Discussion - Gyms/Fitness
  • 1:00pm: Demo - Land Derby / Roller Derby
  • 1:15pm: Demo - Land Derby / Roller Derby
  • 1:30pm: Interview - Netball Victoria
  • Emcee: Frock Hudson
  • 2:00pm: Relay
  • 2:15pm: Relay
  • 2:30pm: Interview - EC Kickball
  • 2:45pm: Interview - Campbell Harrison - Australian Olympic Team Non-Binary Climber
  • 3:00pm: Interview - Lacrosse Victoria
  • 3:30pm: Dance Battle
  • 3:45pm: Dance Battle
  • 4:00pm: Stage closes

FAMILY PRECINCT PROGRAMMING

YMCA Skate Park

  • 12:00pm One hour skating lesson for families
  • 12:30pm One hour skating lesson for families
  • 1:00pm One hour skating lesson for families
  • 1:30pm One hour skating lesson for families
  • The YMCA Skate Park Staff continue on site from 2.30pm-4pm to assist and manage the space

Family Precinct Stage - presented in association with Rainbow Families Switchboard

  • 1:30pm Tristan Meecham & Bec Reid (Play Date)
  • 1:40pm Luke Taylor - Acrobat and Juggler
  • 1:45pm Em Chandler (The Story Keepers)
  • 1:55pm Tristan Meecham & Bec Reid (Play Date)
  • 2:00pm Liz Reed - Auslan Storytime
  • 2:10pm Tristan Meecham & Bec Reid (Play Date)
  • 2:15pm Em Chandler (The Story Keepers)
  • 2:25pm Tristan Meecham & Bec Reid (Play Date)
  • 2:30pm Luke Taylor - Acrobat and Juggler
  • 2:35pm Amy Nightingale-Olsen - NICA
  • 2:45pm Tristan Meecham & Bec Reid (Play Date)
  • 2:48pm Liz Reed - Auslan Storytime
  • 2:58pm Amy Nightingale-Olsen - NICA
  • 3:08pm Tristan Meecham & Bec Reid (Play Date)
  • 3:11pm Em Chandler (The Story Keepers)
  • 3:21pm Tristan Meecham & Bec Reid (Play Date)
  • 3:26pm Amy Nightingale-Olsen - NICA
  • 3:36pm Tristan Meecham & Bec Reid (Play Date)
  • 3:39pm Liz Reed - Auslan Storytime
  • 3:44pm Tristan Meecham & Bec Reid (Play Date)

 

Check out the 2024 Carnival Artists >>

Map of the Midsumma Carnival precinct

Download 2024 Midsumma Carnival PDF Map

Zoom in to the PDF map to see more detail. Note that the Picnic Precinct Info Tent (where you can register for the Dog Show) is marked with a paw icon.

Map of Stall Locations

Colour-coded Stalls Map: PDF 84 KB, indicating the marquee colours, with insets of Partner and Sports Precinct stalls. Zoom in to see map details.

Cycling and Pedestrian Detour

The recommended detour around the site for cyclists and pedestrians is shown by the green line on the following map (or download the PDF version):

City of Melbourne-approved detour for cyclists and pedestrians

There are two main stall blocks: the main Stalls Village in the Picnic Precinct, and the Sports Precinct at the St Kilda Rd end of the park.

See Complete List of 2024 Midsumma Carnival Stalls >>

The iconic Midsumma Carnival Dog Show will be back once again in 2024 on Sunday 21 January, from 3pm on the Picnic Precinct Stage at Alexandra Gardens. This is a fun day out with your pooch.

Registration

You can register your dog for the show on the day from 11am - 2:30pm at the Picnic Information Tent adjacent to the Picnic Precinct Stage or at the Main Information Tent at the St Kilda Rd end of the park.

Entry is free and the dog show will start at approximately 3pm.

Judges

  • Michael Parry - Midsumma Board Member
  • Harriet Shing - Minister for Equality
  • Matthew Barron - Midsumma Patron and Performer
  • Leigh Johns OAM - Midsumma Patron

Categories

We’ll be searching high and low for winners in the following categories:

  • Cutest Bitch
  • Sexiest Stud 
  • Best Trick
  • Best Dressed
  • Best Owner/Dog Combo

The winners of these five categories will go on to compete to win the Ultimate Best Dog prize. 

Prizes

All category winners will receive a prize and The Ultimate Best Dog winner will also take home a $250 pet shop voucher.


Terms and Conditions – Midsumma Carnival Community Dog Show to be held 21 January 2024

1. The Promoter is Midsumma Festival, Hanover House, 158 City Rd, Southbank, ABN: 50 783 159 198. Telephone number 03 9296 6600.
2. Information on how to enter and prizes forms part of the terms of entry. Entry into the competition is deemed acceptance of these terms and conditions.
3. If there is any inconsistency between these Terms and Conditions and anything else that refers to this competition, these Terms and Conditions will prevail.

When to enter

4. The competition commences on 21 January 2024 at approximately 3pm AEDT. Entries must be received by the Promoter via the advertised channel and by the advertised time, as published on this website.

How to enter

5. Entrants must enter the competition in advance and in person at Midsumma Carnival on 21 January 2024 at the location advertised above.

Conditions of entry

6. Entrants are required to take full responsibility for their entry and to be in effective and safe control of their dog(s) at all times. All entrants agree to indemnify the promoter and the event sponsors for any incident that may occur as part of the Midsumma Carnival Dog Show.
7. As part of the entry all entrants agree to still or video photography being taken that may be published by the promoter in any form or channel the promoter wishes for promotion of the event or subsequent events.
8. The Promoter reserves the right to disqualify any entrant whose dog(s) is deemed by the organisers to not be under the effective safe control of the handler at all times.

Prizes on offer

9. Advertised Prizes are listed above.
10. Prizes cannot be transferred, exchanged or redeemed for cash.
11. It is a condition of accepting the prize that the winner must comply with all the conditions of use of the prize and the prize supplier’s requirements. It is the responsibility of the winner to confirm such conditions with the prize supplier or other relevant third parties.

Further Terms and Conditions

12. The Promoter reserves the right to amend, cancel or suspend this competition if an event beyond the control of the Promoter corrupts or affects the ability for the competition to take place.
13. If any prize is unavailable, for whatever reason, the Promoter reserves the right to substitute the prize for a prize of equal or greater value.

Are you ready to lip sync for your legacy? Midsumma Carnival’s Lip Sync Limelight, hosted by Frock Hudson, could be the perfect place for you to debut your charisma, uniqueness, nerve and talent to the world!

Where? Midsumma Carnival Picnic Stage, Alexandra Gardens

When? approximately 5:15pm on Sunday 21 January (register by 4pm)!

How do I sign up? Go to either Info Tent (marked with "i" or a paw icon on the Carnival map) to sign up on the day, choose your song (must be available on Spotify) and limber up… ready to let them HAVE IT! 

Prizes

  • Best LIPS - double pass to one of a selected list of Midsumma shows
  • Best OUTFIT - double pass to one of a selected list of Midsumma shows
  • Most ORIGINAL - double pass to one of a selected list of Midsumma shows

Each winner will also receive a $50 gift voucher.

Judges

  • Ophelia Cox
  • Jess McAvoy
  • Joel Bray

Midsumma Carnival will have two licensed bars for you to purchase your drinks, as well as a VIP Bar for special guests.

  • Main Bar: hours Midday-10pm, located near the Main Stage.
  • Picnic Bar: hours 11am-10pm, located near the main Stalls Village and Picnic Stage.
  • VIP Bar: hours 11am-10pm, located right beside the Main Stage.

Midsumma encourages guests to support the festival by purchasing their drinks from the Midsumma-operated bars.

Proof-of-age Wristbands: In order to gain entry to the bars, all patrons need to obtain a proof-of-age wristband, available from various locations:

  • Wristbanding Tent - in Sports Precinct near Volunteers Tent
  • Main Info Tent - in Sports Precinct
  • Picnic Info Tent - near Picnic Stage

NO GLASS: To minimise the risk of injury, Midsumma Carnival has a strict no glass policy across the site. Broken glass has been one of the major causes of injury to guests in the past, so please don't bring glass drinking vessels, glass wine bottles or glass beer bottles to Carnival.

Bar Offerings

  • Grainshaker Vodka Lime & Soda — $12.50
  • Grainshaker Vodka Passionfruit & Soda — $12.50
  • Neds Whisky & Cola — $13.50
  • Neds Whisky & Dry — $13.50
  • Grainshaker Vodka & Redbull Original — $15.00
  • Grainshaker Vodka & Redbull Sugarfree — $15.00
  • Grainshaker Vodka & Redbull Edition — $15.00
  • Red Bull Energy Drink — $7.50
  • Red Bull Sugar Free — $7.50
  • Red Bull Edition — $7.50
  • Dasher & Fisher Gin & Tonic — $12.50
  • Dasher & Fisher Raspberry Gin & Soda — $12.50
  • One Love Pale Ale — $10.00
  • Bricklane Draught — $10.00
  • Hi Fi Dry Zero Carb Lager — $10.00
  • Sunsetter Ginger Beer — $11.00
  • Sidewinder No Alc — $9.00
  • Rosé — $10.00
  • Sauvignon blanc — $10.00
  • Prosecco — $10.00
  • Red Blend — $10.00
  • San Pellegrino Clementina — $7.00
  • San Pellegrino Limonata — $7.00
  • Water — $6.00

 

Midsumma Carnival has something for everybody, and is designed with the varied needs of our diverse community in mind.

There is clear directional signage across the site indicating facilities and services. The site is also staffed by our friendly crew and volunteers if you have any questions or need more information. Alternatively, you can text or call Midsumma’s accessibility hotline on event day on 0437 557 109.

Getting There

  • Accessible Drop-Off Bay for Vehicles (see map): located at the Eastern end of the precinct at the intersection of Boathouse Drive and Alexandra Avenue. Managed by traffic controllers allowing vehicles and taxis to drop you off close to the event precinct, and specially-trained volunteers ready to assist with wayfinding if required. There will be a marquee with seating to give shade to people who are waiting, and there will be a ramp from the kerb down to the road. PLEASE NOTE: the drop-off bay will become very congested from 5pm to 6pm and we recommend avoiding the area during this time if you require a speedy drop-off or pick-up.
    Below is a photo of the accessible drop-off area.
  • Accessible Parking: unfortunately, there is no onsite accessible parking, but accessible parking is available at:

Wheelchair Accessibility

The entire Midsumma Carnival precinct is wheelchair accessible. The majority of permanent bitumen pathways remain free of infrastructure to maximise accessible routes across the site. Grass areas will also be cut low for wheelchair access through parklands, and low-hanging tree branches trimmed by Council arborists. The majority of food service areas are positioned on hard stand surfaces, with low-service counters included where possible.

Specific wheelchair facilities provided are:

  • Wheelchair Charging Facility: at the main Information Tent, beside the Sports Precinct at the St Kilda Rd end of the park.
  • Wheelchair Lift: available as required at the stages.
  • Accessible Toilets: all toilet blocks include accessible toilets. Toilet blocks are in multiple locations throughout the event site, including inside the bar and behind the stage (for performers).

Toilets

  • There are 6 x locations of gender-neutral portable toilets across the site and every one of these locations has an accessible toilet.
  • All back of house areas have access toilets for our artists and staff.
  • There are an additional 2 x City of Melbourne Accessible toilets that are part of the static event site facilities in Boathouse Drive.
  • There is an accessible toilet with a baby change facility located on Boathouse Drive behind the Main Stage area.

Designated Viewing Areas

Positioned close to the front of each stage for people with varying requirements.

Auslan Interpretation

  • Carnival Stages: All programming on the Main Stage and Picnic Stage will be Auslan interpreted (apart from DJ sets). This includes the Dog Show. Auslan interpretation for Main Stage and Picnic Stage is provided by Auslan Stage Left.
  • Families Area: All programming in the Families Area will be Auslan interpreted. This includes the skate lessons. This service is provided by Expression Australia. In 2024, there will be a Deaf artist offering Auslan Storytime in the Families Area. This is provided by Expression Australia.
  • Stallholders Precinct: There will be roving interpreters provided by Expression Australia at the Stallholders Precinct for any Deaf community who would like to communicate with stallholders on the day.
  • Expression Australia Volunteers: Deaf volunteers from Expression Australia will be at Carnival between the hours of 9:30am and 8pm to support the Deaf community to enjoy the event. They will be at the Expression Australia stall (F19-20).
  • Volunteer Briefing: Auslan interpretation at the Volunteer Briefing if this service is requested by participants.

Audio Description

  • Describer guides from Vitae Veritas will be onsite from 12pm-6pm at Carnival offering tailored audio description and guiding service to blind and low-vision community. Anyone requiring this service should make their way to the Main Information Tent, located at the St Kilda Road end of Alexandra Gardens, near the Sports Precinct.
  • Water bowls for dog guides and assistance animals will be provided at all water stations.

Access Coordinator

For the first time this year, Midsumma Carnival will have an Access Coordinator on site to support a team of Volunteer Access Champions who will be working specifically on supporting access for audiences and artists. If you or someone you are with requires one-on-one support navigating the Midsumma Carnival precinct, or guidance to finding and using the available provisions, our Access Coordinator can be contacted by:

  • Asking one of the friendly volunteers at the entrances
  • Asking at the Info Tent
  • Texting or calling Midsumma’s accessibility hotline on 0437 557 109

Social Story

Children & Families

  • The entire Midsumma Carnival precinct is pram accessible. The majority of permanent bitumen pathways remain free of infrastructure to maximise accessible routes across the site. Grass areas will also be cut low for pram access through parklands.
  • There is an accessible toilet with a baby change facility located on Boathouse Drive behind the Main Stage area.
  • The Families Area will host a range of family-friendly programming from 12:00pm-4:30pm including Auslan Storytime. All programming in this area is Auslan Interpreted.

Commitment to Ongoing Improvement

  • Midsumma has a range of ways that you can provide feedback to us. A feedback form will be linked here in the coming days. For Auslan-users, Expression Australia will provide a bilingual feedback form in Auslan and English. You can also contact us after the event at [email protected].

Additional accessibility services and features will be listed here as arrangements are finalised.

Can I bring glass?

No. To minimise the risk of injury, Midsumma Carnival has a strict no glass policy across the site. Broken glass has been one of the major causes of injury to guests in the past, so please don't bring glass drinking vessels, glass wine bottles or glass beer bottles to Carnival. Midsumma encourages guests to support Midsumma Festival by purchasing drinks at the Midsumma-operated bars. In order to gain entry to the bars, you need to obtain a proof of age wristband, available beside the Main Information Tent or near the entrance to the Main Bar. 

What happens if there is severe wet weather or smoke?

We are monitoring the Melbourne weather very carefully, and will also have professional risk assessors on the day of Midsumma Carnival who will be monitoring the weather. Our first priority is you and our communities at Midsumma Carnival. If there is severe rain or smoke on the day we will pause the activities on the stages until it is safe to resume. For weather and air updates in Melbourne visit the Australian Government Bureau of Meteorology. Make sure you have a contingency plan, stay safe in all weather, and look after each other.

Is food available?

Yes, a diverse selection of delicious food trucks will be at Midsumma Carnival at differing locations throughout the precinct, offering food options for all. Whether you're feeling like sweet or savoury, something vegan, gluten free or craving a meaty delight, Midsumma Carnival has it all.

Can I bring my own tent structure or umbrella to Carnival?

Midsumma will provide umbrellas around the event precinct for the public to use. The City of Melbourne absolutely bans pegging any structures into the ground or placing them close to trees. If you do bring a structure it must be weighted to ensure it is safe in wind gusts, and it cannot be located anywhere that it will block views for other attendees. Non-conforming structures will need to be dismantled and removed from the site.

Is Midsumma Carnival family friendly?

Midsumma Carnival is a family friendly event, but at 6pm Carnival transforms into a dance party, which is recommended for 16+.

Are pets allowed?

Pets are welcomed at Carnival and you're invited to enter your dog in the Midsumma Carnival Dog Show. Please note though that the event is held in an outdoor space in the middle of summer. As there is limited natural shade available, we highly recommend taking the necessary precautions to ensure your pet is protected from the heat and stays hydrated. With all that in mind, the safest place from the heat for your pet is at home.

How do I stay cool and sun-safe at Midsumma Carnival?

As Midsumma Carnival is held in the middle of Summer it is important to remember to:

  • Slip on a shirt
  • Slop on sunscreen (throughout the day) - free sunscreen available at the Information Tents
  • Slap on a hat (or bring an umbrella)
  • Seek shade
  • Slide on some wraparound sunglasses
  • Hydrate regularly (with three free water stations onsite)

Due to the natural structure of Alexandra Gardens, shade is limited and in high demand.

Check the SunSmart website for the current UV rating and advice on how to minimise sunburn and skin cancer risks, the Bureau of Meteorology website for weather forecasts and warnings or the EPA Victoria website for information about air quality ratings.

Transport

Midsumma Carnival is held at Alexandra Gardens (opposite Arts Centre Melbourne), which is a short walk from Flinders Street Station. As parking is limited, we recommend taking a train to Flinders Street Station, any tram along Swanston Street or Flinders Street, or cycling to the event.

Can I film, photograph or interview people?

If you are working for a media organisation and intend to use film, photography or interviews of participants or performing artists for content, please get in touch with Felicity McIntosh, Midsumma's Marketing and Communications Manager, at [email protected] to request Media Accreditation.

If you are capturing memories for personal use, we ask you to please be respectful and ask for people’s permission before doing so.

Can I sell merchandise at Midsumma Carnival?

Stallholders and registered rovers are able to sell merchandise, but people who haven't registered are not permitted to do so. In order to sell merchandise outside of your stall space, you need to have a pre-approved Midsumma Rover pass.

What happened to T Dance?

Midsumma Carnival is the opening event for the festival - we used to advertise that Midsumma Carnival turns into T-Dance at 6pm. Midsumma no longer calls the evening celebrations "T-Dance", as we consider the total event to be "Midsumma Carnival".

What accessibility services are provided at Midsumma Carnival?

Check out Midsumma Carnival Accessibility for a comprehensive description of the accessibility features provided at Midsumma Carnival and see Access Information for details about accessibility across the festival.

Wheelchair Accessibility: all of Alexandra Gardens are wheelchair accessible.

What measures are taken to protect the environment?

Midsumma Carnival is a large event - having so many people gathered in a relatively small space has the potential to seriously damage the environment. Some of the measures taken to reduce that impact include the following:

  • Dedicated recycling and food waste bins are located in all areas of the venue, and are regularly cleared throughout the event
  • Hydration stations and bubblers are provided to promote the use of refillable water bottles (and to encourage participants to keep well hydrated)
  • No glass is allowed into the venue, to minimise the possibility of broken glass 
  • No balloons or streamers are allowed on site. Vendors may be permitted to use Eco-Glitter subject to approval on a case by case basis
  • Electricity is provided via mains power or bio-diesel generators
  • Food traders only use biodegradable products (no single use plastic)
  • Volunteers and staff members are provided with refillable water bottles to be refilled at the hydration stations

Further questions?

If you have any questions, feedback or would like any information in another format, please don't hesitate to contact us on 03 9296 6600 or by emailing [email protected]

If you are Deaf, hard of hearing or have difficulty speaking, contact the National Relay Service on 133 677 or via relayservice.com.au, then ask for 03 9296 6600 during business hours. There is no additional charge for this service.

Event & ticketing details

Accessibility

Audio Described
Auslan Interpreted
Wheelchair Access
Vision Rating less than 50%

Dates & Times

WHEN Sun 21 Jan 11am-10pm

Tickets

FREE No ticket required

Location

Alexandra Gardens

St Kilda Rd, Melbourne

Get directions

Train

Flinders Street

Tram

Any Swanston St tram to stop 14 (Arts Precinct/St Kilda Rd)

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