Clear your calendars, art lovers. We're coming up fast on the end of the year, and that means Midsumma is right around the corner. Melbourne's largest queer arts and culture bash, the Midsumma Festival has showcased the talents of local creatives from within the city's LGBTIQ community every year since 1988. Tickets to Midsumma 2016 are due to go on sale later today, meaning it's time to start poring obsessively over this year's program and seeing how much stuff you can fit in.
Running for three straight weeks from January 17, Midsumma 2016 will be spread across more than 80 different venues, and will cover everything from visual art and performance to community events and parties. As has become tradition, the festival's centrepiece event will be the annual Pride March along Fitzroy Street in St Kilda. This year, the march will put an emphasis on the fight for marriage equality.
The Pride March is one of three major flagship events on this year's program. The Midsumma Carnival and TDance will once again kick off the festival with a five-hour lineup of free live music and entertainment in Alexandra Gardens. We'll also see the launch of the first ever National Water Polo League Pride Cup at the Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre, in which the Victorian Seals National League will take on the Brisbane KFC Breakers. The night will also feature an exhibition grudge match between Australia's only LGBTIQ clubs, the Melbourne Surge and the Sydney Stingers. Carn the Surge!
Other standout events on the program include the DRAGNATION drag competition, the Lesbian Comedy Gala and the Yass Pride! party at Luna Park. A performance from award winning cabaret singer Michael Griffiths looks set to be pretty great and the premiere of a new multimedia art exhibition Company of Men is another of our must-see events.
Tickets for Midsumma 2016 will go on sale today. For more information about the festival including the full program guide, visit midsumma.org.au