“Midsumma Festival is Australia’s premier queer arts and cultural festival, bringing together a diverse mix of LGBTQIA+ artists, performers, communities and audiences.
Every January, Midsumma Festival expands over 22-days of summer with an explosion of queer events that center around hidden and mainstream queer culture, locally and internationally. The Midsumma program shares with you the lived experiences of those voices at the margins, the expression of queer history, and the celebration of new ideas that come to life through world-class art and performance.”
Woohoo, Midsumma is here again and this years kick off at Carnival was a real banger. The weather had been threatening thunder storms all last week so it was a smaller crowd than in previous years, but I’d been looking forward to it for so long that I thought, fuck it, i’ll just pack light and go, and if I have to dance in the rain then I’ll dance in the rain. The weather was hot and humid so dancing in the rain seemed like a great idea anyway.
It was sunny and lovely when I got there and we set up our picnic under a shady tree, cracked out the drinks and started to have a look around. As well as the main stage and the T-dance there are lots of community stalls and other things to see. The event always attracts a really great cross section of the Melbourne community and you’re bound to bump in to old friends and some times new ones ( Hi Matt ).
The first thing I had to do was get the Melbourne Gay Community Periodic Survey out of the way. It helps capture a picture of the sexual health and habits of the community every year. I don’t mind doing it but its best to get it out of the way early so that you don’t spend the rest of the day getting asked by pollsters if you’ve done it. Get the sticker and get on with the day I say.
Melbourne has a large variety of Gay, Gay friendly and inclusive sports clubs. I used to belong to the Melbourne Surge Waterpolo team and it was a really great experience. A team sport is a really good way to meet lots of people from different friendship circles if you are keep to meet some new people and they a great alternative to gyms if you’re looking for a way to get fit. I still keep in touch with my friends from the Surge and that was my next stop. They were easily recognisable in their pink and black speedos. I hung around ogling the lollie bags while I waited for the Tug-o-war contest. Each year the different clubs battle each other and all those bulging muscles tugging away in the sunshine was definitely something I was not going to miss.
The rest of the afternoon was pretty much a relay run from the bar to the blankets to the dance floor. The storm that threatened missed us entirely which is pretty good considering that it brought flash flooding and hail stones the size of golf balls with it. The main stage did shut down briefly for some lighting but momma nature smiled on us and party continued. I energy was so good – helped along by quite a few cans of Gin and Tonic that it really didn’t matter that we were getting rained on.
A really great afternoon and top way to kick off the Midsumma Festival.
Days like this can be a bit of a whirlwind of emotion. In the past I’ve always felt a bit disappointed with Midsumma Carnival day. The event itself is great but without a small “Grope” – Group of gay men, sometimes referred to as a “Murder” (LOL), it can feel quite lonely. In the past I haven’t had a tight circle of mates around me, I’ve always felt a little like I exist between friendship circles rather than in them. If my friendships were a Venn diagram i’d be in the tiny space in the middle. I think feeling like an outsider is something that a lot Gay men feel so I have to recognise that this year and this summer has really been very different for me. For the first time in along time since my confidence sank I feel like my social funny bone is tingling again. I’m definitely enjoying getting out more and finding it easier to meet new people.