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Melbourne’s LGBT festival asks the community for funds

With a $40,000 shortfall for the 25th anniversary of Midsumma, Melbourne’s queer arts festival and carnival, the organizers start crowd-funding
Revellers at Midsumma carnival 2012

Midsumma, Melbourne’s queer arts and culture carnival, turns 25 in 2013 and the organizers are looking to the community to raise funds.

Since 1988 Midsumma has celebrated LGBT life in Melbourne. Last year’s event saw theatre, academic discussion and parties and much more over three weeks in January and February.

Midsumma is funded by the local City of Melbourne council, as well as arts board Arts Victoria and the Victoria state government and some corporate sponsors, but they have a $40,000 (Australia dollars, $39,800, €31,700) shortfall for next year’s celebration.

To keep the carnival day free, which was attended by 100,000 people last year, Midsumma are asking members of the community to make a contribution. The organizers have started a campaign on crowd-funding site Pozible to raise $25,000 (Australia dollars, $24,900, €19,800) by 21 July.

‘Itʼs a very challenging time and climate to get funding for the arts in general, and for our community,’ said Midsumma festival chair Lisa Watts. ‘People often donʼt realise Midsumma is a not-for-profit organisation, and the costs of putting on the day are huge.’

In an interview with Gay Star News in February, Midsumma festival’s CEO Adam Lowe said he has big plans for next year’s celebration.

Lowe said that he wants to get Melbourne’s major cultural venues - Melbourne Theatre Company, the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, the Victorian Arts Center and the Melbourne Fringe Festival - to take part in ‘an arts festival in a queer context’.

Also, following the controversial anti-gay statements from former tennis champion Margaret Court during the Australian Open, Lowe said that Tennis Australia should make a positive statement and join next year’s Midsumma.

The tennis championships coincide with Midsumma every year and Lowe said they could work together for a celebrity tennis match with ‘Martina Navratilova and other queer tennis players’.

The 25th anniversary of Midsumma festival will run from 13 January to 3 February 2013.

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