It’s back and bigger than ever! Midsumma Festival, Melbourne’s biggest queer festival, is here to help kick off the new year with a three and a half-week slate of events, drag shows, musical gatherings, theatre performances and all-inclusive parties that can be enjoyed by all ages. Kicking off Sunday, the 20th of January with its yearly Midsumma Carnival in Alexandra Gardens, the festival is set to reach new heights as they delve into the wonderful world of Melbourne queer culture while giving you a sense of fearlessness and enjoyment you won’t be able to get enough of.

With the annual Midsumma Carnival launching the series of events, attendees will be treated to a range of activities and performances that’ll keep you smiling. The all-day carnival will take you through performances from a list of incredible DJ’s and musicians who’ll be performing from the multiple stages located around the park, there’ll be the return of the highly anticipated dog show, Unicorns Karaoke will hit the main stage for anyone looking for a turn in the limelight, a series of drag performances will shine throughout the day and can’t be missed, pageant competitions (also featuring a competition for best dressed) will set the place on fire, and there’ll also be a set of lip-sync performances that’d even make the queens of RuPaul’s Drag Race jealous. If you’re looking for a chill day out in the sun, this’ll be perfect for you.

Over the course of the festival, there’ll be an array of events featuring some of the greatest shows Melbourne has seen. Join Rhys Nicholson and Australia’s talented roster of LGBTI artists which includes the likes of Mama Alto, Joel Creasey and Sheldon Riley as they perform in Midsumma Extravaganza, one of the biggest shows of the festival at Hammer Hall. Taking a look over the extraordinary career of George Michaels and the multitude of ways in which he enriched the lives of LGBTI individuals everywhere, Andy Johnston will liven up your night with a cabaret performance of some of Michael’s greatest hits in Father Figure.

If you’re looking for a time unlike any other, join Ginger & Tonic for a night of a capella in their performance party Gays of Our Lives. And if you’re anything like me, food is pretty much life, so why not join Adrian for I’ll Have What He’s Having, a journey of self-discovery, music and a love affair with food. Meanwhile, if you’re looking for a much-needed drag-fix, be sure to stop by Drag-A-Thon for a non-stop drag show extravaganza, that’s bound to leave you gagged.

For those of you needing a couple days out in the sun for some socialising with your fellow peers, Midsumma Festival has you covered with a set of day events that range from the Queer Pool Party hosted in Prahran Aquatic Centre, the Mad Hatter Tea Party in the heart of Newport, to the Glam Slam, a diversity tennis event held during the Australian Open. There’s also an array of film screenings featuring queer films such as Love, Simon and Grease, that’s sure to loop you in. However, if you’re in the mood for a night out, Midsumma has you covered with queer events such as ADAM and Popchops popping up around the city.

Not limited to social events, Midsumma Festival offers a range of talks and gatherings in which you can take a moment to reflect on and discuss issues affecting the lives of the LGBTI community. Hypothetical brings together a community of doctors, comedians, activists, authors and community members and throws them into a fictional storyline where they use their smarts to tackle topics within the queer community. Looking for an introspective discussion on queer culture, you can join a panel of leaders for the two-day Dancing Qweens: Let’s Get Critical.

Midsumma Festival promises to remain a spectacle unlike any other, and one that everyone will be chomping at the bit to be a part of. Just don’t forget to show us your pride as you join us for the annual Midsumma Pride March, which brings together Melbourne’s queer community in a unified love for each other to celebrate the very people we are. How else would you start the year off right?

For more information on Midsumma Festival, click here.

For tickets to any of the events throughout the festival, click here.