2024 Midsumma Carnival Artists
Image by Nikki Russian Photography
Take a look at some of the amazing artists who will be performing at Midsumma Carnival (11am-10pm) at the Alexandra Gardens on Sunday 21 January 2024. See Midsumma Carnival Stages for details about the program.
All The Queens Men (Tristan Meecham and Bec Reid) — Emcees & Performers — Family Stage
Tristan Meecham and Bec Reid of All The Queens Men (ATQM) are your Midsumma Family Stage Hosts. Tristan and Bec star as Turtle and Sugar Rush in the new Midsumma family show ‘Play Date’ at ArtPlay on Saturday 3 and Sunday 4 of February, created especially for little people (4 -7 years old) and their (chosen) families. ATQM is an acclaimed performance company that connects communities together in joyous, creative experiences. ATQM is a leading creative voice within LGBTIQ+ communities, where its commitment to equality, connection, and social justice finds expression through projects such as the multi award-winning The Coming Back Out Ball, LGBTIQ+ Elders Dance Club and Digital Dance Club.
Play Date is a joyous day doof disco that will include original pop bangers like “Different”, “Frown to Crown”, “Fruit Time” and the instant classic “My Chosen Family”. Play Date is guaranteed to give you a rush and encourage you to come out of your shell.
Amy Nightingale-Olsen — Circus Performer — Family Stage
Amy is a world-class acrobat with more than a few multidisciplinary tricks up her sleeve! Having graced the stages of the world’s most illustrious cirque and theatre companies including: Les 7 Doigts, Circus Oz, Circa, P&O Cruise Lines, Dummies Corp, Highwire Entertainment and Pippin: The Musical; singing, dancing, acting, acrobatics and circus arts are all in a day's work for this tiny pocket rocket.
Aysha Buffet & House of Buffet — Emcee & Performer — Main Stage
Image: Megan Harding
Aysha Buffet is a fabulous foodie Queen, serving the children love, entertainment and literal food! Hailing from Naarm by way of the provinces of Philippines, she is constantly serving high fashion, high-drama performance and reads that are both funny and too real. Whether she's hosting at your local watering hole, creating chaos on stage at a music festival or sitting in the corner at KFC eating a 3-piece feed, her love for food, fashion and her community is endless.
Aurelia St Clair and Charlie Lewin — Emcees — Main Stage
Amid Melbourne’s world-record lockdown, these Aussie comedians made the only logical decision of their short lives: ‘it’s time to make a gay podcast’. And thus, POPGAYS was born.
Each week, best mates and gossip-mongers Charlie Lewin, Aurelia St. Clair & Jordan Barr come together to spill the tea and shoot the piss — discussing what’s happening in pop culture, their personal lives, and Britney’s Instagram.
Butch le Butch — DJ — Main Stage
Butch le Butch has forged his name as one of Melbourne’s finest purveyors of underground disco. His sets are packed full of long forgotten gems reworked for today’s dancefloors with his remixes of Madonna, Dolly Parton, Cerrone & Dua Lipa (to name a few) played across the world by the likes of Honey Dijon, The Blessed Madonna, Prosumer, Boris Dlugosch and DJ Sneak. He has supported Dimitri from Paris, Horse Meat Disco, Dave Lee, Boy George, DJ Heather and Moby and can be found playing as one of the residents at the Melbourne club night Bruno.
Cerulean — Performer — Main Stage
Image: Joseph Mayers
Cerulean is one of Melbourne’s most dynamic and vibrant conceptual performers bringing a refreshing cloud of excitement and pleasure to the stage. As the current reigning winner of the national Miss First Nations pageant, she is set to propel her way into shaping the future of drag. As a visionary performer, you can expect her to deliver exceptionally fierce and entertaining drag performances that will leave audiences salivating for more.
Charity Steals — Performer — Picnic Stage
Introducing the one-of-a-kind sensation, Charity Steals, an international neurodiverse drag artist whose captivating performances and magnetic personality have left an indelible mark on the global drag scene. Born with an innate talent for entertaining, Charity emerged as the crowned winner of the prestigious Miss Gay and Transexual Competition in 2015, setting the stage for an extraordinary journey that would take her around the world.
What sets Charity Steals apart is not only her glittering crown but also her distinctive sense of humour and style. A master of wit and charm, Charity infuses her performances with a perfect blend of comedy and charisma, ensuring that every show is an unforgettable experience for her audiences. Whether through theatrical lip-syncs, dazzling costumes, or spontaneous interactions, Charity Steals effortlessly captures the hearts of those lucky enough to witness her in action.
DJ Gay Dad — DJ — Picnic Stage
Image: Grace Carey
DJ Gay Dad is a delicious house music daddy with wine mum energy; a genderqueer sonic staple on queer and trans dance floors everywhere across so-called Australia.
With their silly little moustache and obsession with deep cuts, nostalgic bangers and filthy basslines under campy beats, they've graced the decks of Mardi Gras, Sydney WorldPride, Gaytimes, Laneway Festival, Beers for Queers, Unicorns, Haven, POOF DOOF, HONCHO DISKO, Midsumma Carnival and many, many more. Dedicated to creating fruity, bustling queer dancefloors, you can guarantee they've got the best bangers up their sleeve (aka on their dykey carabiner full of USBs).
Duchess Kay — DJ — Main Stage
Stylish, energetic and highly infectious. Duchess Kay is a musical magician of the DJ scene. Her versatility and professionalism have landed her residencies at various renown bars and nightclubs, VIP functions, corporate and iconic national events. Duchess Kay mixes genres like hands-in-the-air party tunes, R&B and Hip-Hop, funky Nu Disco, Vocal House music, and fist pumping dance anthems. Duchess Kay has worked for various reputable brands and corporations, regularly performs at the Australian Open, Australian Grand Prix, Midsumma Carnival, Pride and Mardi Gras events and supported numerous local and international artistes including Danii Minogue’s “secret” warm up show.
Em Chandler — Performer — Family Stage
Em Chandler (she/they) is a proud queer/trans storyteller, magician, and theatre-maker, based in Ballaarat and Naarm. With over 16 years of experience working with kids and their adults, Em adores connecting with others through kindness and wonder. Em loves to bring her unique repertoire of spells, stories and songs to every situation - whether intimate community events or major festivals. Passionate about social justice, fairy tales, and drinking tea, a stranger once told Em, “No offence, but you look like an elf”. The Sydney Morning Herald on the other hand calls Em "pure enchantment".
Fashioning Drag - Miss Moneesha — Performer — Main Stage
Miss Moneesha is the drag alter ego of Melbourne fashion designer Jude Ng. Miss Moneesha is an eclectic character inspired by the designer’s upbringing: traditional straits Chinese culture meets 90s pop culture. She is inspired by Jude’s colourful upbringing in Singapore in a Peranakan household, where there was a strong sense of matriarchy and Jude was surrounded by powerful women, listening to their stories of overcoming hardship and adversity. Miss Moneesha is also inspired by the 90s soul divas which the designer would listen to and emulate as a kid, an ode to the strong women he admired.
Fish Amethyst — Performer — Picnic Stage
Chris has written, produced and performed with Midsumma since first producing Fanny Fight at La Mama Theatre for the festival in 2002. Most recently, they wrote and produced Doris & Doris... Go to a Funeral for the 2016 festival at La Mama with Jack Beeby.
Gay Roberto — DJ — Main Stage
Image: by MJ Bentley
Gay Roberto is a hardworking fixture of his local scene, with coveted residencies & appearances across Naarm/Melbourne and around Australia for most of the last decade. He is queer scene household name in Naarm, known for sparking joy with top-shelf sets of timeless queer-oriented House music, euphoric Techno and a touch of old-school Prog. He also plays late-70s Disco and old-school R&B. His cache includes a wide range of luxurious underrated discoveries and his own cuts and unreleased originals in the style of face-melting Deep House and Techno. A tried and true expert in crowd control, his sets are a bespoke moment of discovery, connection and freedom of expression. Roberto curated a weekly club night for the Australian dance institution Revolver Upstairs, where he held a residency for six years starting as a teen. In early 2020 he began broadcasting 'Mid Morning Music' on the beloved Melbourne dance station Kiss FM. He currently hosts 'Resonance' on Bloop London International which began in November 2021. Roberto is also behind Easy Gay and Punch Bowl Disco, two underground queer parties in Naarm that celebrate classic House and Disco with a feminine touch.
Historians Call Us Roommates (Chelsea Heaney) — Performer — Picnic Stage
Chelsea Heaney is a queer comedian on the rise. A 2023 RAW Comedy state finalist, Chelsea has performed and produced shows for the Adelaide Fringe Festival and Melbourne Cabaret Festival and in 2024 will be making her Midsumma Festival Debut. Her signature awkwardly honest humour keeps audiences in stitches. History has been cis-straight-white-washed and Chelsea is here to set the record… gay!
HONŌUR — Performer — Main Stage
HONŌUR will introduce you to some of Melbourne's most ICONIC legends in a celebration and ceremony of love recognition and a mother fucking PARTY …….
These may be people that aren’t known to the whole queer community of Melbourne
BUT THEY SHOULD BE !!!!!
Trans activists, Indigenous icons, the real ROYALTY of our communities ……
HONŌUR also celebrates the many cultures that are under-represented within Melbourne's queer communities and let’s you know exactly where they are and where they should be, which is right at the CENTRE……
HOUSE OF DIESEL
Unveiling the brilliance, igniting the stage — after an eagerly anticipated house debut, the House of DIESEL, a new upcoming Ballroom house in Naarm/Australia takes the Picnic stage at this year's Carnival. Showcasing the language of C*NT or famously known as VOGUE FEMME, experience the glory at your own risk because…
"My c*nt so lethal. The house of DIESEL"
House Mum — DJ — Picnic Stage
House Mum is a Co-founder of Naarm-based group Fluxx, A DJ collective/label that focuses on diversity and exploring the darker side of club music within the local scene.
A powerhouse in their own right, House Mum has made a name for themself with their signature blend of percussive techno, hard drum, and trance, heard throughout their energetic DJ sets and recorded mixes.
Hufflepoof (Dirk Strachan) — Performer — Picnic Stage
Dirk is a musical theatre and cabaret performer headlining the Vaudeville shows at the Speakeasy Theatre under the name Jack London. He has appeared in productions such as The Producers, Avenue Q, Hairspray, The Woman In Black, The Scarlet Pimpernel and The Phantom of the Opera. Recently Dirk appeared as himself in the Reality Series “The Traitors” for Endemol Shine and Network 10. Last year Dirk made his Midsumma Debut with the show “Hollywood”, the story of Peg Entwistle, an actress who leapt off the Hollywood Sign in 1932.
I Want it That Gay — Performer — Main Stage
I Want it That Gay is performed by Cara Whitehouse and Lea Maddocks and presented by Akimbo + Co.
Cara Whitehouse is an actor, writer and voice teacher. She is dedicated to championing queer voices, creators and content. Lea Maddocks is a Canberra favourite who performs as Drag King Guy Alias and hosts The Drag Cabaret at Smiths Alternative each month.
Akimbo + Co is a creative production company, made up of arts professionals Becks Blake and Jess Pantano. The team yearn to make theatre that shocks, tells raw stories and utilises unique spaces.
Jandruze — DJ — Picnic Stage
Image: Telepathic (from Barba Party)
Jandruze is an Australian drag artiste, designer and DJ who has taken both the realms of international cabaret and the queer underground by storm. Described as both “impossibly gorgeous” and a “master of their craft” - over the past decade they have carved out their place as the premier non-binary sensation of the Australian stage.
A staple of the vibrant Naarm club scene, they collaborate regularly with such events as BARBA Party, HONCHO DISKO, Thick’n’Juicy and Poof Doof amongst a host of others and major credits include extensive touring with YUMMY Productions (London, Edinburgh, Auckland and throughout Australia), RISING Festival (Melbourne), Sydney Mardi Gras (Sydney) and DARK MOFO (Hobart) - as well as collaborations with a host of both independent artists and major institutions such as Tanzer, Lee Serle, Antony Hamilton, The Huxleys, Chunky Move, NGV, ACCA and Holly Durant to name but a few.
Their strong foundational background in contemporary dance is a major influence on all of their work. As a performer and designer the body always sits at the fore - whilst musically they utilise a wide palette of genres and styles, wielding their DJ sets as a choreographic score for the dance floor.
JARV!S — DJ — Main Stage
JARV!S is a queer DJ based in Naarm, who’s musical soundscape traverses many decades, postcodes and genres.
Expect JARV!S to introduce you to gyrating balearic, thumping disco and house tracks from around the world.
JARV!S has supported the likes of Cormac, Adriana, Milo Eastwood, Cassette for Kids and James Pepper, getting crowds across Naarm up on their feet and dancing.
Jess McAvoy — Performer — Main Stage
Originally from Perth Australia, Jess McAvoy is a Brooklyn-based nonbinary multimedia artist with over 27 years of experience as a singer/songwriter. Jess made a name for themself in Melbourne throughout the 2000s and most notably made the rounds with their song “The Sailor”, and their powerful solo sets performing aloside the likes of Liz Stringer, Clare Bowditch and many, many more.
Jonni Homsey — Dancer — Picnic Stage & Announcer — Main Stage
Image: by Shannon May Powell
Jonni is an established Green Room award winning choreographer who works in the liminal space between street dance, public art and dance imagery techniques. He is so excited to waack on the Midsumma Carnival stage, always ready to reveal something new. He is a proud member of Burn City Waack and an active member of Naarm's dance community empowering QPOCs.
Lesbian Love Stories — Performers — Picnic Stage
The Local Lesbians is a production company focusing on queer & female representation, headed by two Aussie lesbians.
Co-Artistic Directors, Natasha Veselinovic and Chloe Rose Taylor, are proud queer women and professional performers who have worked both nationally and internationally over the past decade.
They often felt that there were very few (if any) lesbian shows on stage - particularly not ones that they could relate to, or that normalised same sex relationships, so they decided to create one - ‘Lesbian Love Stories’. From there, their production company, The Local Lesbians, was born.
Lion — Performer — Main Stage
Image: by TanMac (Lion performing at Midsumma 2024 Program Launch)
LION is a queer black electropop/alt artist, singer, songwriter, producer and dancer from Naarm (Melbourne) Australia. Their music is a patchwork of pulsing rhythms, sharpshooting rap stylings and a tinge of heavy rock; a vessel for their piercing lyrics which discuss socio-political issues like microaggressions and racial identity. They move with power, choreographing revolutions with passion. Steeped in their Ethiopian heritage, LION won’t just tell you their story, they’ll roar.
Having learnt music production through genres like dubstep, trance and future bass; LION’s music has a unique electronic edge. Combined with their love for femme-bodied pop icons in the Western world and the K-pop scene, their vibrant personality flows through their fierce lyrics and powerful hooks. Their sound echoes somewhere between Todrick Hall and Lil Nas X.
LION has already commanded crowds at many festivals including Sydney World Pride and Vic Pride Street Party with their showstopping live performance. They bring together all the unique elements of their identity and their talents, creating theatrical, rhythmic, and prolific material. Gearing up to release their third single in early 2024, as well as playing multiple headline slots, LION continues to evolve in their unapologetic artistry.
Liz Reed — Performer — Family Stage
Lizard (aka Elizabeth, Liz) from Naarm (Melbourne) is a passionate artist and Teacher of the Deaf. Her love for lizards began in childhood, evolving into care for six blue tongue skink species today. With a Masters in contemporary art, Lizard uses her visual creations to share the deaf-something experience across the 20th and 21st centuries. As an advocate for deaf education, she works at the Victorian College for the Deaf, aiming to draw attention to the issues facing the deaf community and future generations.
Luke Taylor — Acrobat & Juggler — Family Stage
Luke Taylor has been a performer virtually his whole life. He grew up in the Flying Fruit Fly Circus in Albury before touring throughout Australia and the world with Lunar Circus, Circus Oz, Dislocate and The Chipolatas. Now he brings his unique style of character-based juggling and acrobatics to the stage at Midsumma to guarantee laughter and astonishment in equal measure.
Mel & Sam — Emcees — Picnic Stage
Mel & Sam are a Green Room award-winning musical comedy duo from Naarm/Melbourne bringing a razor-sharp, polished edge to the cabaret scene. They’re queer, horny, cheeky and unhinged, and here to stay. Having made a name for themselves with 3 completely original cabaret shows so far (‘No Hat, No Play’, ‘Shit-Wrecked’ and now 'High Pony’ - all of which have toured the country to sold-out crowds and critical acclaim), this duo are all about filling the hunger for some Gen Z fuckery in the comedy scene.
Together, they have a Spotify-Original podcast (‘Mel & Sam’) as well as a slew of awards including a Green Room win for 'Best Original Songs’, a prestigious Golden Gibbo award nomination and a ‘Best Cabaret’ win at Adelaide Fringe. They are currently working on a number of projects for stage, screen and audio platforms.
Melbourne Rainbow Band - Musicians - Main Stage
We exist to provide an opportunity for musicians to develop their musical abilities in an environment free of prejudice and discrimination and to promote the LGBTQ+ community to the wider population.
The Melbourne Rainbow Band is a gender and sexually diverse community concert band. We began in 1995, and currently have around 40 members drawn from the LGBTQ+ and Ally communities. We are a non-profit community group. Our members’ musical skill levels vary from beginner to professional and our MRB family spans the entire rainbow spectrum – as long as you are enthusiastic, accepting, and love music, we are happy to have you! The MRB does not hold auditions for members and is open to all players with basic music reading and playing abilities. We have regular performances each year, including Midsumma Carnival and Pride March. Generally, we also perform two ticketed showcase concerts each year, along with various community and private performances, and our Christmas extravaganza, Carols by Queerlight.
Michael Waugh — Performer — Main Stage
Michael Waugh is a multi-award winning songwriter’s songwriter, a compelling live performer and an extraordinary storyteller. Among his admirers are the legendary Eric Bogle, alt. country luminary, Shane Nicholson and Josh Cunningham from The Waifs. Michael’s forthcoming album ‘Beauty & Truth’ tells the story of his recent coming out. “This record is so very personal, so very important to me. It’s how I say to the world ‘here I am’ -and f***all of the voices in my head and from my past that told me that I couldn’t be loved if they knew the truth.”
“When Michael Waugh opens his mouth, you should listen”. Andrew McMillen – The Australian
Mon Franco — DJ — Picnic Stage
Mon Franco is a Naarm-based Filipino DJ and co-curator of Open Seen, a party for and by queer POC communities. Mons sound weaves into global club beats, repetitive percussion (drums, bass & cymbal crashes) to rnb/hip hop samples mixed with contemporary edm.
Mon has played for various events and platforms, from Gaytimes Festival, Midsumma to SYN, Kiss FM, and 3CR radio. She’s played at nightclubs New Guernica and Miscellania, and has also supported local artists Robert Baxter, Srirachi, Mulalo, and Julai. Her energy is rooted in community, youth work and well-being in the arts.
Nic Dorward — Emcee — Picnic Stage
Nic is a writer, presenter, activist and community advocate. He is the founder of HIV grassroots movement, TIM, a former member of the Vic Pride Lobby committee and chair of the Victorian HIV Legal Working Group. HIs writing on HIV, queer politics, and Drag Race has been published in Australia and internationally.
Nick Spurway — DJ — Main Stage
Nick Spurway builds his sets under the ethos of “less chin stroking, more dancing”, having no trouble flipping between thumping techno, high energy disco and pumping, swingy house within the hour. Nick established his reputation as a killer DJ in his early twenties, playing for numerous parties in Eora/sydney along Oxford Street and deep in Marrickville warehouse party territory, cutting between pitch perfect, vinyl-only opening sets and late-night banging closers, before moving to Naarm/melbourne in 2020.
Pride Of Our Footscray Showcase — Performers — Main Stage
Pride of our Footscray is a colourful and friendly venue located in the heart of Footscray, that brings incredible entertainment to the west with our resident drag performers including Gloss, Tilly Capulet, Sabrina Babyslut, and many more. Pride's core values are diversity and community, as shown through our amazing patrons and performers.
Siân Brigid — Performer — Picnic Stage
Image: by Cam Attree Photography
She's the carnie queen of halloween, and a self-described attention seeker with no self preservation instincts.
Siân Brigid has barn-stormed the scene, touring sideshow-cum-burlesque around the country. A multi-award winning artist, this tantalising triple-threat makes eclectic, electric work that quickens pulses and reddens cheeks.
Whether she’s swallowing swords, playing with fire, stomping on glass or standing on nails: it’s always a spectacle when this freakshow femme sets fire to the footlights.
Enjoy the Sideshow Showgirl: Siân Brigid!
Slippery (Curtain World) — Performer — Main Stage
Curtain World is a Meanjin/Brisbane based queer theatre production house. Since 2021 it has debuted four original plays, and produced events, workshops and installations. Curtain World platforms artists who strange-make to truth-tell, uplifting queer and trans voices and visions from Meanjin. In 2024, Curtain World will be touring Esther Dougherty’s play Slippery to Midsumma Festival and Adelaide Fringe Festival.
Tinika — DJ — Main Stage
Image: Jay Saya
Tinika is more than just a DJ; she's a sonic storyteller, a radio presenter, a DJ educator, and a powerful force in the world of music, who has landed herself on some impressive lineups at most of the city’s iconic venues and festivals Revolver, to Pitch, Let Them Eat Cake and Beyond the Valley. As a proud queer, black woman, Tinika brings her unique experiences and influences to the forefront of her artistry, inspired by the likes of bass driven rhythms, the dynamic world of remix culture, and the rich musical tapestry of the Afro Diaspora.
Tom Foolery — DJ — Picnic Stage
Tom Foolery burst on to the queer dance music scene in Naarm in a flurry of camp bangers, classic house and spicy tech house. Tom has an ear for some incredibly tasty bops and an energy that is sure to ignite any dance floor.
Tom is a regular at CLOSET, Poof Doof Melbourne and Haven and has played at Festivals such as Gaytimes, Summer Camp and Mary's in the Park.
Tom is also one half of Hospitable Takeover along with Alex Morris.
Vau d’vile Vixens — Performers — Main Stage
Vau d’vile –The ‘d’ is for drag, darling. Established in 2017, Vau d’vile is Australia’s only drag queen owned and operated venue, led by Rupaul's Drag Race Down Under Season 3 alum, Bumpa Love. Perfect for bachelor/ette/x parties, date nights, birthdays and besties, we invite you to a fabulous night of feathers and frills, with tasty tapas and cocktails to keep you refreshed. Enjoy our 'Discotheque' and 'Diva-stated' production shows before dancing the night away with our late-night performances, featuring a rotating cast of some of Melbourne's finest drag talents.
Woman of SALT (Bella Nitrate) — Performer — Main Stage
A lady born from glitter, glam, and built from the ashes of what she burnt in order to become what she'd never thought possible. Stepping on to a stage for the first time in 2012, she faced backlash for being a woman in a man's world.
Bella was determined to amaze and create a lasting imprint on the drag scene. Performing on Melbournes stages for 11 years since, Bella's true passion is to entertain the masses, if only to distract them from the reality of everyday life for a few minutes.