Brisbane's First-Ever River Pride Parade Will Float Through the City During 2024's Inaugural Melt Open

The Queensland capital's new major queer art and culture festival has also announced Courtney Act as its first ambassador.
Sarah Ward
Published on February 06, 2024

Sydney has the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade, which takes over Oxford Street for a night of celebration. Melbourne has the Midsumma Pride March, its equivalent in Fitzroy Street, St Kilda. From November 2024, Brisbane will share the show of pride, but in a way befitting the River City: with the first-ever River Pride Parade as part of the new Melt Open festival.

Boats will float from William Jolly Bridge to Brisbane Powerhouse, all embracing everything that a pride parade should be — just on the water. The River Pride Parade will take place on Saturday, November 9 in the afternoon, with Courtney Act leading the charge as Melt Open's just-announced inaugural ambassador.

"A pride parade on the Brisbane River — what a brilliant twist on a cherished favourite! Just imagine the magic as we all come together to celebrate on the water, surrounded by the beauty of the city," said the Brisbane-bred Act.

"As I lead the river parade, you can bet there'll be plenty of SPF beneath my makeup! This is truly a unique and fabulous way to honour pride and the stunning Brisbane River."

"Prepare for a dazzling spectacle with the River Pride Parade fronted by the fabulous Courtney Act. Picture dykes on jetskis, drag-clad waterskiers, iconic queer boat parties and that's just the beginning. We welcome watercraft of all shapes and sizes to join the river parade and encourage everyone to get their spots along the river to view the carnival," added Pieta Farrell, Executive Producer of Melt Open.

Registrations are open now for the River Pride Parade, which will help close out Melt Open's first year, with the entire fest running from Wednesday, October 23–Sunday, November 10. Don't have a boat? Organisers advise that watercraft of all shapes and sizes can take part.

Melt Open was announced in 2023 as a fringe-style event to celebrate LGBTQIA+ art and performance everywhere from Fortitude Valley to Woolloongabba, showcasing queer work, talents, legends and allies. Brisbanites should already know that Brisbane Powerhouse has hosted Melt Festival for eight years and counting, with that event considered a predecessor to this newcomer. As its name makes plain, Melt Open is broadening its scope by building upon Melt's success — spreading beyond the Powerhouse, featuring more artists and venues, and operating as an open access-style shindig.

The River Pride Parade is the second major program announcement for the debut Melt Open, and the second that'll make spectacular use of the fest's Brisbane location. The other: New York-based artist Spencer Tunick returning to Brisbane after 2023's Melt Festival stint, this time to close the Story Bridge to fill it with nudes for a new photography work.

If you're eager to get your kit off in the name of art, celebrating the LGBTQIA+ community and diversity, registrations are still open for the installation, which will take place on Sunday, October 27 — and there's no limit on the number of participants.

Melt Open 2024 will run from Wednesday, October 23–Sunday, November 10, with the River Pride Parade taking place on Saturday, November 9. Head to the Brisbane Powerhouse website for additional information, and to register for the parade.

Images: Jack Martin.

Published on February 06, 2024 by Sarah Ward
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