Midsumma Carnival

Midsumma Carnival - Photo by Creative Edge Photography

About Midsumma Carnival

To find out about Midsumma Carnival 2022, visit the event page.

Midsumma Carnival highlights the opening weekend of the three-week Festival each year. Midsumma Carnival is an iconic outdoor celebration that has become one of the biggest highlights in the LGBTIQA+ annual calendar. The event provides a fitting opening to the festival each year. In itself, Carnival is a huge single-day event, usually running from 11am until 10pm in Alexandra Gardens in Melbourne’s CBD, with a massive set up and overall coordination required for delivery each year. 

Midsumma Carnival attracts a broad attendance across age ranges and demographics, truly celebrating a day of inclusion and diversity in all its forms.

This popular annual event is free to the public and typically attracts around 120,000 people.

Of course, planning takes time and if we don’t get plans underway now we would find it very hard to finalise everything by the time we hit the crucial later planning months of 2021. To enable this, we are currently developing plans for a number of different options at varying scales, attendance numbers and site layouts. We do expect that the numbers of attendances will have to be reduced and there will likely be advanced bookings required to facilitate contact tracing. Whether this can be only a few thousand or many more, due to the ongoing popularity of the event, we do expect that all available places for attendees will be snapped up quickly as soon as we launch the program. 

Midsumma continues to work with the State Government to determine the safest way to deliver the event. 

What to see at Midsumma Carnival

Each year, Midsumma Carnival brings back the audience favourites (yes and the dog show) plus adding a pinch of lip-syncing, drag dazzling, stellar acts, fine food and a pop-up bar. You can peek at the festival program with bite-sized performances, relax in the chill-out zone, meet friends in the family domain, tackle the sports precinct and stay cool in the under 18s area. The full day of activities leads into the evening of T Dance, featuring a fantastic line-up of sassy sounds and DJs.

Precincts: Sports, Youth, Family, Tea Tent (for older audiences) and a Chill Out Zone.

Stages: Main Stage and Picnic Stage. The day-time programming for Carnival is focused around performers registered within the Midsumma Festival program, to provide maximum promotional opportunities for these artists/events; supplemented with guest artists and key fun community events specifically devised for the day.

Midsumma Carnival Dog Show: The iconic Midsumma Dog Show is a crowd favourite. A fun day out in the park with your pooch where you and your pet can win prizes, judged by a panel and celebrated by the audiences. Categories include: Cutest Bitch; Sexiest Stud; Best Trick; Best Dressed; Best Owner/Dog Combo; and then the ultimate Best Dog Overall.

Stalls: Over 180 community stalls participate, and multiple stages are programmed throughout the day and evening. Want to have a stall at Carnival?
(Tip: Subscribe to the Midsumma eNews to ensure you don't miss the registration deadline).

Midsumma T Dance

As the sun goes down Midsumma Carnival turns into T Dance, an ostentatious fun dance party held across both the Main and Picnic stages. Thousands of people dance and party to a major line up on each stage, including a major headliner or two.


As a sign of Midsumma’s ongoing commitment to access at Midsumma Carnival, the following initiatives are achieved each year:

Midsumma Carnival continues to focus on safety and well being, with safety messaging throughout the site (from sun-smart through to sexual consent education) and a new partnership with DanceWize, who provide peer education and care for festival-goers as part of our ongoing commitment to cultivating a safe festival environment for our audiences and communities.

See Access Information for details about accessibility across Midsumma Festival.

Midsumma Carnival 1996 by Richard Israel and 1997 by Virginia Selleck

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