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Sydney Mardi Gras: what to expect at Australia's largest gay event

Huge parties, gay pride marches, a month-long festival and more

Sydney Mardi Gras: what to expect at Australia's largest gay event

Over 30 years since Australia’s largest pride event was met with police batons and prosecutions, Sydney Mardi Gras will return next year for its biggest event yet.

Running between 8 February and 4 March, Sydney Mardi Gras will play host to a wide variety of events and activities, and is expecting guests in their thousands.

Gay Star News, official global news supporter for the event, looks at what will be happening.

The Festival

The Sydney Madri Gras Festival will bring forward a wealth of LGBT events, including performing arts, sports, film, community, visual art and social events.

Past performers at the festival have included the likes of John Waters, Joan Rivers, Kathy Griffin and Margaret Cho. 

Applications are still being accepted to be a part of the festival.

The Parade

The Sydney Mardi Gras Pride Parade will be on 2 March 2013. Over 9,000 people are expected to take part in the parade, which will head down the city’s Oxford Street and Flinders Street. Hundreds of thousands of spectators are expected to line up to show their support.

Marchers will include  gay and lesbian police officers,  student pride groups, and Jewish and Arabic gays and lesbians.


As with any pride event, Sydney Mardi Gras will also play host to some amazing parties.

The Harbour Party, a Mardi Gras favorite, will be returning on 23 February 2013. Chill out with cocktails watching an amazing sunset over the Sydney skyline, and dance to performances from world famous DJs. Past years have included Random Soul, Troy Cx and Kate Monroe.

The Pool Party is one of the more luxurious events at Sydney Mardi Gras though the date is yet to be announced. You will be able to enjoy cocktails in the cabana lounge, an evening swim or can choose to just dance all night.

The largest party of Mardi Gras, however, takes place right after the Sydney Mardi Gras Pride Parade.

The Mardi Gras Party, the largest LGBT party in the southern hemisphere, will see more than 15,000 people attending the iconic dance party. Partygoers in their thousands will be travelling from around Australia and overseas.

Comprising five huge venues, this party sees members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex communities come together with their friends to celebrate all night long.

Each year, the Mardi Gras Party features exclusive performances from surprise special guests. Previous years have seen artists like Kylie Minogue, David Guetta, Paul Oakenfold, George Michael, Cyndi Lauper and Kelly Rowland perform at the party.


Sydney Mardi Gras is more than just parades and partying. The festival will also host a variety of talks and debates on LGBT issues.

Queer Thinking, taking place on 16 February, will bring together some of the world’s most influential academics and creatives to discuss their work, passions and communities. Past speakers have included Peter Tatchell, Sarah Waters, Jack Halberstam and Brent Corrigan.

Generations of Women, a part of Women Say Something, will focus on discussing some of the most influential women in modern history, and what we can do to continue their work.

Speakers will include British actress and singer Heather Peace, most famous for her role as DC Sam Murray in the hit lesbian drama Lip Service.

And more!

Other events to look forward to include the Mardi Gras Drag Races, which will see Sydney’s top drag kings and queens compete in events such as the Handbag Discus and the Dainty Dune Dash. 

There will also be the Mardi Gras Fair Day, which will see up to 70,000 people enjoy a variety of stalls, rides and various entertainment, including a main stage featuring a range on Australian performers. There will also be entertainment for kids at the Kidzone, and even dogs will be well catered for with Doggywood – featuring a number of categories for pet owners to compete in.