Sophie Ellis-Bextor, Shane Jenek and Cher-Inspired Cabaret: They're All on Melt Festival's 2022 Lineup

Brisbane Powerhouse's LGBTIQA+ celebration returns for 18 days this November with a packed program filled with tunes, club nights, comedy, dance and First Nations art.
Sarah Ward
Published on September 14, 2022

When November hits, murdering some dance floors should be on every Brisbanite's must-do list. That's just what you do when Sophie Ellis-Bextor comes to town to headline this year's Melt Festival. The British singer's local stop was announced back in August, alongside a Queensland-exclusive show by Big Freedia, who you'll know from Beyoncé's 'Formation' and 'Break My Soul' — but if you've been holding out for the full LGBTIQA+ celebration's lineup, Brisbane Powerhouse has just dropped the details.

Obviously, the Sophie Ellis-Bextor and Big Freedia gigs are huge — the former with Jodie Harsh DJing, and burning this goddamn house right down (metaphorically) while 'Murder on the Dancefloor' plays; the latter with Kinder in support. Jesswar and JessB were also already the bill, and they all now have a heap of company between Thursday, November 10–Sunday, November 27, including Shane Jenek, Polytoxic, Brendan Maclean, festival artist-in-residence Dylan Mooney and a Cher-inspired cabaret by Larissa McGowan.

Among the newly announced events across the 18-day fest, as overseen by Festival Curator Daniel Evans, Jenek – aka Courtney Act — will chat about his memoir Caught in The Act. Yes, expect his stint on RuPaul's Drag Race season six to get a mention. Meanwhile, McGowan's solo show Cher includes contemporary dance, chameleonic displays, and a pop culture-fuelled exploration of gender and power.

Polytoxic's In Your Dreams will enjoy its world premiere at the fest, heroing genderqueer and intersectional artists, and performed as an awards ceremony for the future. As for Maclean, he's bringing his solo show Alone At Last! to Brisbane after its successful debut season at Adelaide Cabaret Festival. And Yuwi, Torres Strait and South Sea Islander man Mooney will continue his impressive recent run of exhibitions, spreading his art across multiple Brisbane Powerhouse spaces and surfaces.

Also a highlight: Meltdown, a night of tech house beats from Soul of Detroit featuring John 'Jammin' Collins of Underground Resistance, Sophie Forrest and DJ Enn, as curated by Joel Devereux. It'll also span installations, guest appearances, drag acts and performances, aka one helluva party.

Shane Jenek

There's the Melt Comedy Gala, too, which'll be hosted by Mel Buttle and feature New Zealand comic Chris Parker; Queerstories making a comeback, complete with Benjamin Law among its LGBTQIA+ storytellers; and the similarly returning Lesbian Love Stories.

Both the LGBTQIA+ Elders Dance Club hosted by All the Queens Men, and Backbone Youth Arts' Revel in the Queer, will be free to attend — with a huge focus on providing uplifting and safe spaces for queer culture.

Keep an eye out for The Good Room's The Chapel of Love, which'll build a chapel — yes, really — on Brisbane Powerhouse's Turbine Platform (taking inspiration from everything from Dolly Parton to Hallmark and Vegas' neon dreams, naturally).

Some Melt events will make use of Brisbane Powerhouse's new Pleasuredome, an outdoor venue that's set to join the New Farm site.

Dylan Evans

Melt Festival 2022 runs from Thursday, November 10–Sunday, November 27 at Brisbane Powerhouse. For more information or to buy tickets, head to the fest's website now.

Published on September 14, 2022 by Sarah Ward
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