Australia's LGBTQIA+ Festival Circuit
Have you thought about touring your Midsumma show? Australia's circuit of quality LGBTQIA+ festivals provides a unique opportunity to tour the country. It's also a great opportunity for audiences to travel while sampling a diverse and eclectic range of events along the way. Volunteering for the various festivals is a great way to make new friends too!
Bendigo Queer Film Festival + Bendigo Pride Festival (Vic): 20 Mar - 5 Apr 2020
The Bendigo Queer Film Festival has been running since 2004, when it was founded by Chris Walters in collaboration with the Melbourne Queer Film Festival (who remain major supporters). The inaugural Bendigo Pride Festival was planned for 2020, but those plans were thwarted by COVID-19!
Brisbane Queer Film Festival (Qld): 5 - 15 Mar 2020
Established in 2000 by Brisbane Powerhouse, BQFF exclusively show-cases cinema by, about and for the queer community.
Broken Heel Festival (NSW): 9 - 13 Sep 2021
The Broken Heel Festival is a fabulous three day festival which celebrates the theatrical anniversary of "Priscilla Queen of the Desert" at her spiritual home, The Palace Hotel and the township of Broken Hill.
ChillOut Festival (Daylesford) (Vic): 4 - 8 Mar 2021
Held on the Labour Day Weekend in early March, the ChillOut Festival in Daylesford, one hour north of Melbourne, is one of the largest and longest-running Queer Pride events in regional Australia.
Coastal Twist Festival (NSW): 1 - 4 Oct 2021
An arts and culture based LGBTIQ festival with a focus on inclusion and diversity. From photo exhibition and film to cabaret, dance party and beach drag, this festival will culminate on Sunday in a huge community-wide fair day.
Feast Festival (SA): 7 - 29 Nov 2020
Feast has grown since 1997 from a community arts festival for the lesbian and gay community in Adelaide to become a major event on the festival calendar in South Australia.
Frolic Festival (Vic): 12 - 18 Nov 2020
Frolic is a not-for-profit festival run by a small team of like-minded Ballaratians who want to support and show off the wonderful diversity of the region – and have lots of fun doing it.
Geelong Pride Film Festival (Vic): 23 Oct - 3 Nov 2020 (online)
A family friendly festival of LGBTQI films, normally screening at The Pivotonian Cinema and Platform Arts, Geelong.
Geelong Rainbow Festival (Vic): 12 - 14 Feb 2021
The Geelong Rainbow Festival has been running since 2018.
Hot & Steamy Festival (Qld): 19 - 22 February 2021
The Hot & Steamy Festival, held annually in Port Douglas since 2020, is an excellent example of diversity and inclusion of the LGBTQI+ community in Far North Queensland.
Melbourne Queer Film Festival (Vic): 12 - 23 Mar 2020
Held over 11 days in late March, MQFF is the largest and longest running queer film festival in Australia, screening the best Australian and International queer films, shorts and documentaries.
MELT: Festival of Queer Arts and Culture (Qld): 18 - 28 Jun 2020
MELT is an invitation to celebrate Brisbane’s wonderfully diverse queer communities. Brisbane’s LGBTIQ+ voice is loud and clear, bursting with pride, humour, humanity and rebellion. The community is bounding towards equality in many vital aspects of life and MELT is a vehicle for these leaps.
Midsumma Festival (Vic): 19 Apr - 5 May 2021
Midsumma has been Melbourne's annual Queer Celebration since 1988 - with a smorgasbord of queer arts and cultural events spread over more than 85 different venues throughout Melbourne and Regional Victoria.
Newcastle Pride (NSW): 9 - 24 Aug 2021
The Newcastle Pride Festival is an exciting, glamorous and “out n’ proud” series of events that aims to showcase to locals and visitors that Newcastle is a city of diversity, culture and beauty. Newcastle Pride is an inclusive, vibrant and fun not-for-profit LGBTIQ+ community-based organisation.
Out in the Open (Vic): 22 Oct - 1 Nov 2020
OUTintheOPEN is Shepparton's newest festival celebrating community diversity. It was developed to address some of the inequalities faced by the local gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, intersex, queer (GLBTIQ) & allied communities and to build a more inclusive community in Greater Shepparton.
Perth Pride (WA): 2 - 30 Nov 2019
Pride Western Australia is WA's largest community group, representing the lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex community. Originally incorporated in 1993, its roots go back to the 1989 march on Parliament. PrideFest kicks off with a Parade and Celebration in November.
Southern HiBearnation (Vic): 10 - 16 Jun 2019
Kicking off from the Queen's Birthday Weekend in June, VicBears Southern Hibearnation brings together bears and their buddies from all over the planet for the largest and friendliest bear FUNdraising event in the South!
Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras (NSW): 19 Feb - 7 Mar 2021
SGLMG has existed since 1978 primarily for the benefit of Sydney's LGBTQI community, the enjoyment of a wider audience and as a global beacon of diversity, acceptance and LGBTQI rights. It includes the iconic Parade and the Queer Screen queer film festival.
TasPride Festival (Tas): 1 - 15 Feb 2020
TasPride began in 1992 and continue to be dedicated to celebrating, uniting and promoting the Tasmanian Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex and Queer community, through providing opportunities for everyone to come together and share our pride.
tilde film festival (Vic): 28 Nov - 1 Dec 2019
Established in 2014, tilde is a community-based, international film festival based in Melbourne, and one of a handful of trans and gender diverse (TGD) film festivals in the world.
Tropical Fruits (Lismore, NSW): 27 Dec - 3 Jan annually
Established in 1988, Tropical Fruits Inc. is the premier GLBTI community group of the Northern Rivers region of New South Wales. They hold regular events throughout the year. The NYE Festival is a four-day celebration of the GLBTI community, with a CBD Parade, NYE Party, Pool Party and Recovery Party.
Unwrapped (Dandenong, Vic): 18 - 30 Nov 2020
An exciting celebration of LGBTIQA+ Arts and Culture hosted by The City of Greater Dandenong that supports local LGBTIQA+ artists and communities, through exhibitions, performances, events and workshops. All elements of the Unwrapped program are free, and accessible through various online platforms.
In addition, a number of other Australian festivals are extremely queer-friendly. For example:
Adelaide Fringe (SA): 19 Feb - 21 Mar 2021
The Adelaide Fringe Festival is Australia's answer to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
Melbourne Cabaret Festival: 17 - 28 Jun 2020
Since its inauguration in 2010, the Melbourne Cabaret Festival has grown to become an iconic Melbourne event much loved by audiences and performers alike. Check out our Queer Guide to the 2019 Cabaret Festival.
Melbourne International Comedy Festival: 24 Mar - 18 Apr 2021
The Melbourne International Comedy Festival, one of the three largest comedy festivals in the world alongside Edinburgh Festival Fringe and Montreal's Just for Laughs Festival, always has a plethora of queer performers and queer-themed events.
Melbourne International Film Festival: 6 - 23 Aug 2020 (online in 2020)
MIFF is a not-for-profit organisation that has been continuously running since 1952, making it the leading film festival in Australia and one of the world’s oldest film festivals, alongside Cannes and Berlin.
Melbourne Writers Festival: 20 - 29 Aug 2021 (online in 2020)
The Melbourne Writers Festival is one of the reasons that Melbourne has been declared a Unesco City of Literature. Check out the Star Observer Queer Guide to the 2019 Writers Festival.
Next Wave Festival: 15 - 31 May 2020
Next Wave is the most comprehensive platform in Australia for a new generation of artists taking creative risks.
St Kilda Film Festival: 12 – 20 Jun 2020
The St Kilda Film Festival supports the Australian film industry by turning the spotlight on a wide range of fascinating short film works that may not otherwise see the light of day. Check out the Queer Guide to the 2018 St Kilda Film Festival.
Vic NAIDOC: 8 - 15 Nov 2020
NAIDOC stands for National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee. Vic NAIDOC Week is a time to celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history, culture and achievements.
If planning on travelling overseas, or around Australia, check out our LGBTQI Festivals around the world blog page.