New Mardi Gras - Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras  - Official Website


'Mardi Gras' History of the World'


20th May, 2009

Important Announcement - Mardi Gras 2010

Today we're pleased to announce the key dates for Mardi Gras 2010.

Launch/Fair Day - 21st February
Parade & Parade Night Event - 27th February
Harbour '10 - 28th February
Party - 6th March

Following the success of last year's launch we will again use Fair Day to kick off two weeks packed with the very best gay & lesbian arts and cultural events you will anywhere in the world. The quality of our semi-curated festival has improved significantly in each of the last few years and we promise to pack an even bigger punch this time round.

Mardi Gras Parade will take place on the 27th February in the usual place and with the theme 'Mardi Gras' History of the World'. This year Parade won't mean just the start of a big night for Sydney, but instead a big week of parties and events that will run all the way to the closing Mardi Gras Party on 6th March.

The first of these will be a parade night event which we will announce in the coming months. The following day you are invited to join us for the perfect recovery at Harbour '10 in the Royal Botanic Gardens. In the days that follow we will  have a packed programme of daytime and night-time events right across the city, from the beach to harbour and from concert hall to dancefloor.

We are excited about this new format and believe we can deliver an even better Mardi Gras in 2010.

Why the changes?

We have moved to a two-week festival having reviewed other similar events worldwide. There are relevant recent examples of arts festivals moving from three-weeks to two in recent years and for good reason: it is very hard to maintain a world-class programme over such a long period. We believe our efforts will have much more impact in the shorter format. We certainly don't envisage shortening the Festival further.

There are a number of reasons that together persuaded us that we ought to trial putting a week between the Parade and Party in 2010. For one thing our research through focus groups and surveys has pointed to  our members and ticket-buyers preferring that we experiment with the format. We hope you will support us in a change which we think can bring great results. Clearly all change involves risk and we stand ready to learn from the experience.

A more inclusive Parade and Party. We are aware that large numbers of Parade participants don't make it to the Party. They are simply too tired to appreciate a Party that runs to 8am after often starting early on Saturday morning. The same applies to our volunteers, many of whom are entitled to a discount ticket, but are too tired to take up the offer. Equally we believe there are large numbers who say they are usually preparing for the Party instead of watching the Parade. We would like both events to be easily enjoyed by as many as possible. 

A longer buzz. One of the key things we heard from focus groups and informally this year was that there wasn't enough buzz in the run-up to Parade night. There was one really big night and by Monday morning Mardi Gras was gone for another year. We think we can deliver a much more sustained experience. We have looked at how other major events like Rio and New Orleans are structured and although both contain a single headline parade they maintain a longer period of parties and events either side of those parades. This is what we hope to achieve this year, providing a much more intensive programme of daytime and night-time events right across the city, using Sydney as a playground, to create an unmissable high-octane fortnight - and particularly in that final week up to the Party.

Mardi Gras' History of the World

Today we also take great pleasure in announcing our season theme, Mardi Gras' History of the World.

It is an opportunity for us to take a new look at some of the key events in history and giving them a big Mardi Gras Make-over.

We also see it as a chance to mark some key GLBTIQ figures who have made a difference or lived interesting lives. We will also use it to commemorate those who have been victims because of their sexuality.

Alternatively it's a theme that invites you to celebrate your own, or your organisation's history. We look forward to telling you more in the coming months.

Who do you want at our parties?

We are following up on our survey of international DJs from late last year with a survey of key vocal and musical talent. We'd really like to know who you would like to have appear at our parties. If you complete the survey you could be the winner of two tickets to both Sleaze Ball 2009 and Mardi Gras Party 2010. Just click here to take the survey.

BGF 25th Anniversary Appeal

The Bobby Goldsmith Foundation has been helping people with HIV for 25 years. Today they care for some 1400 people - old, young, female, male. The youngest is 8, the oldest 77. 

Your 25th anniversary gift to the Bobby Goldsmith Foundation will help people with HIV to stay in their homes, pay for vital HIV medications, return to work, do a training course, or just return to a state of wellness.

Every gift, big and small, is really valuable and helps BGF continue their work. To make a tax deductible donation visit and help someone with HIV 'get their life back'. $25 is enough to pay for one client's vital HIV medication for a month.

International Appeal Against Transphobia

New Mardi Gras is one of 300 organisations across the globe who have recently signed the International Appeal Against Transphobia and for the Respect of Gender Identity.

The appeal calls on the World Health Organisation to take transsexualism off the list of mental disorders and for all countries to enforce legislation that ensures respect for Trans People's human rights.

International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia invite you to join the appeal by signing the petition at


Mitcham to lead Mardi Gras parade

Reg Domingo, 11 December, 2008


Openly-gay Olympic gold medallist and Australian Sports Performer of the Year, Matthew Mitcham, will be leading next year's Mardi Gras Parade.

Mitcham, whose extraordinary final dive gained the highest score ever at an Olympics, will be the Chief of Parade. He follows US comedian Margaret Cho who led the parade earlier this year, and actor Rupert Everett in 2007.

Mitcham's participation will be watched by millions of Australians following news that the parade will be televised live exclusively through pay-TV station, FOXTEL.

Mitcham said he was honoured to be asked to lead the parade.  

"Mardi Gras has an illustrious history and I'm really proud to now be part of that," he said.

"There is such a huge buzz in the city on Parade night and it really does bring the whole city together. I am really excited to be right in the middle of the action."

New Mardi Gras Chair David Imrie said Matthew's story is an inspiration to the community.

"His comeback to elite sport following burn-out to create one of the most magical moments in Australian Olympic history made him the obvious choice for this year's Parade."

"Matthew's recent success in being voted Sports Performer of the year was a testament to his talent and hard work. It was also one of the most encouraging signs that Australia is a place where you can be openly gay without it limiting your opportunities."

Source: SX NEWS

Your 2009 Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras Festival Guide

11 December, 2008

Today is a big news day for Mardi Gras and we think you're going to like what we have to share with you.

First, tickets to Mardi Gras Party and Harbour Party have gone on sale and you can buy yours here. You may want to buy early as we're expecting them to go quickly (by the way it's now possible to buy members tickets online so long as you have been a member for at least two weeks - you just need your membership number to use as a password).

Why do we think tickets will sell so quickly? Well, you may remember a couple of weeks ago we ran a survey asking which international DJs you wanted to see at Mardi Gras Party. We got well over a thousand responses. We're glad today to be able to announce that we have booked not one, but two acts from the very top of your list - Paul Oakenfold and the Freemasons. There's more to come, but we think that's pretty good for starters!

Were also delighted to announce that Mardi Gras is going to be back on TV this year thanks to our sponsorship with Foxtel and that one of this year's participants - in fact our Chief of Parade - will be Australia's newest sporting superstar Matthew Mitcham. Of course there is no better place to catch the Parade than perched in the Glamstand and we're thrilled to confirm that we will be partnering with the Bobby Goldsmith Foundation to bring it to you in 2009.

But most importantly your 2009 Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras Festival Guide has landed! With headliners like Joan Rivers, Tina Arena and Roberta Flack alongside your favourite local artists and events, it's the best season yet! The full fabulous season can be seen at via the on-line calendar but for now here's a look at some of our favourite events coming up in your 2009 Mardi Gras Festival...

Joan Rivers

Joan Rivers

New Mardi Gras is thrilled to present Joan Rivers at the Enmore Theatre, 3rd & 6th March.

This one woman tour de force returns to Australia with a new one woman show as a special Mardi Gras 2009 event. From her signature question, "Can we talk?" (officially a USA Federal trademark), to her red-carpet mantra, "Who are you wearing?", the woman asks the questions and the gets the answers the gay world wants to hear.

Her areas of expertise are many and varied ranging from comedienne, best-selling author, Tony-nominated actress, playwright, screenwriter, motion picture director, columnist, lecturer, syndicated radio host, Emmy Award-winning television talk-show host, jewelry designer, red-carpet fashion laureate, businesswoman and, most importantly to her, mother and grandmother.

She is in town to celebrate Mardi Gras and no doubt to cause a scene. Don't miss the outspoken comedienne who in June 2008 explained away a television controversy with, "I think saying, 'Go f*** yourself' is a very pleasant way of saying good morning to someone you don't like".

Booking info 02 9550 3666 or

Tina Arena

Tina Arena

Tina Arena at the State Theatre, 5th and 6th March.

'Oh me Oh My- I'm a fool for you baby!'. Whether she's singing spine-tingling renditions of contemporary classics by Lulu, Dusty Springfield, Carole King or Blondie or her self-penned hits Sorrento Moon, Chains or Burn, Tina Arena is acclaimed as one the world's most versatile and magnificent vocal interpreters. Tina returns with a second volume of "Songs of Love and Loss" and a spectacular concert programme with her sensational band augmented with strings, horns, percussion & harp. "A beautiful voice telling a beautiful story" - Herald Sun Melbourne.

Don't miss this live performance by Tina Arena, the biggest selling female artist in Australia's recording history, an international star and an Aussie girl at heart!

Booking info 136 100 or


Mardi Gras @ The Sydney Opera House

Sydney Opera House celebrates the Mardi Gras Festival with its biggest, outest, loudest and proudest season ever, featuring four fabulicious shows in the comfy surrounds of The Studio:

Alan Cumming: I bought a blue car today - Alan Cumming is an actor and queer icon who played everything from the evil mastermind in the Bond film GoldenEye to his Tony Award-winning lead performance as the Emcee in the highly successful revival of Cabaret.

Amanda Palmer and the Danger Ensemble - Lead singer of the Dresden Dolls, international Brechtian Punk Cabaret superstars, Amanda Palmer returns to Australia with a dark and twisted art/music experience.

Justin Bond is Close to You - Tony nominated performer and New York icon, Justin Bond brings his new show to The Studio; the complete song cycle of the classic early Carpenters album Close To You - performing alongside Emmy-Award-winning pianist, Lance Horn.

The Wet Spots: A Midsummer's Wet Dream - Sophisticated musical sex comedy, from Canada. Picture a husband and wife team from the golden age of comedy, singing sweetly about threesomes and spankings. Expect a lively blend of risqué-yet-elegant songs, audience interaction and singalongs to create a world where the libido is celebrated and satirized.

Booking info 02 9250 7777 or



Holiday at the SBW Stables Theatre, 4th - 28th February.

A holiday. A time for distraction, a time to wind down and to dream. In a moment of relaxation, two men unwittingly engage. Spontaneous, unaffected and thrillingly real, innocent discussion becomes an exploration of private fantasy, hidden anxiety, personal mythology and the most inexplicable behaviour. Winner of five Green Room Awards for Theatre. "Lucid, gentle, funny and unexpectedly moving, it remains one of the shows of the year" - The Australian.

Booking info 02 8002 4772 or


Bison / Natural Born Hooker (a sexy double bill)

Belvoir Street Downstairs Theatre, 17th February - 15th March.

A double bill that reveals the darker side of gay sexuality. From cruising to hooking, through beats, bars and bedrooms, whether it's horny Aussie blokes on the prowl or an American stud on the make, these men and their stories will resonate with any guy who's ever hunted for sex (or love) on the scene.

This edgy, funny, up-front and out-there night of theatre is presented by Focus Theatre, the team behind the Mardi Gras 08 hit Blowing Whistles. This event is an over-18's event.

Booking info 02 9699 3444 or


Hat's Off 09! There's No Place Like Home

Sydney Theatre, 22nd February.

London, Paris, New York, Rio...Oz! Hat's Off! returns for its 11th year for a round the world trip featuring the stars of Australian musical theatre, comedy, dance and cabaret, all donating their time and talent to help raise much-needed funds for ACON. Take off on this one-night-only spectacular with Captain Lisa Freshwater and Cruise Director Peter Rutherford. Your in-flight hosties for the night will be the hysterical Jan van de Stool with Garry Scale and Claire de Lune. First class, business and economy tickets available. Book early as this event will sell out!

Booking info 02 9250 1999 or


Roberta Flack & The Sydney Symphony

Roberta Flack & The Sydney Symphony

Concert Hall, Sydney Opera House, 12th, 14th & 15th February.

Roberta Flack has built a flawless reputation as one of the greatest soul singers of our time. She joins the Sydney Symphony to perform specially orchestrated versions of all her greatest hits including Killing Me Softly, The First Time I Ever Saw Your Face and Feel Like Makin' Love. Honoured as one of "The 100 Greatest Women of Rock & Roll", Roberta has sold over 30 million singles and albums and won four Grammy awards. Don't miss this rare opportunity to experience the urban, timeless cool of the one and only Roberta Flack as she performs all her heartfelt classics with the Sydney Symphony.

Booking info 02 8215 4600 or or


House of Black Star

Oxford Art Factory, 28th February.

The House of Black Star is a house of stature, honour and loyalty. In the House of blackSTAR, race, age, gender and religion are over looked. Our premise is One Family, One Love… The House brings a new era of electro-cultured dance party to the 2009's New Mardi Gras Season with a showcase spectacular that brings New York to Sydney for one amazing night of music, dance and performance. Ten incredible hours, featuring international headliners The ONES, Sydney dj Sveta and international diva Pepper Mint. Experience amazing live sets and props that will make your night like no other... Together we are one!

Booking info 02 9332 3711 or or


Festival Bar at The Supper Club

Almost every night of the Festival!

This year's Festival Bar, the Supper Club, is a festival-long home venue pulsing with a mélange of music, burlesque, DJs, cabaret, comedy, and all-round debauchery. Find something to tickle your fancy any night with the likes of international guitar sensation Kaki King, diva Toni Lamond, Bob Downe's Thursday night 'Retro Gras' with guests like David Campbell and Paul Capsis, music and performance extravaganza 'Dollies and Soldiers', Jade Starr and a very special TRaNNi PANiC to name but a few. You'll never want to leave this fabulous feast of shows at the Supper Club! Check out the full line up on the Mardi Gras calendar online.

Booking info


Queer Screen Mardi Gras Film Festival

Australia's number one gay and lesbian cinema event returns to Mardi Gras in 2009. As always, the program includes the very best of queer flicks from around the world, with some top notch local talent opening the festival with MY QUEER CAREER.

More info


The 2009 BGF Glamstand

The 2009 BGF Glamstand

The 2009 BGF Glamstand proudly presented in partnership with New Mardi Gras.

You don't need to camp out for a good view of your Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade - tickets to the 2009 Bobby Goldsmith Foundation Glamstand are now on pre-sale! We're offering you the exclusive opportunity to buy tickets before they go on general sale. You now have the chance to buy the best seats in the Glamstand before they are made available to the general public on Monday 15th December 2008.

To purchase your Glamstand pre-sale tickets simply click here and enter the pre-sale password which is Glamour.

Buying a ticket to the BGF Glamstand is the most glamorous and comfortable way to view your 2009 Mardi Gras Parade!


A record number of gays and lesbians and their families and friends celebrated the 30th Sydney Mardi Gras on Saturday night.

About 10,000 revellers and a further 400,000 rainbow flag-waving onlookers answered the critics and doomsayers who, in the lead-up to the parade, claimed Mardi Gras had lost its way.

Led by veterans of the first Mardi Gras, the '78ers, Saturday night's parade contained many politically-themed entries alongside the more colourful, crazy and outrageous ones.

The '78ers received a particularly warm welcome from the onlookers who lined Oxford Street for the event's 30th birthday bash.

Among other popular paraders were the progressive Jewish group Dayenu, who marched with Beit el Hob (House of Love), a group for LGBTQs of Middle Eastern backgrounds.

Crowds also gave a rousing cheer for the members of the Australian Defence Force, who marched for the first time.

Also marching for the first time was the new commander of Surry Hills police, Superintendent Donna Adney, who was appointed partly in response to concern over homophobic hate crimes in the area.   

In a further challenge to media reports that gay people "aren't really that interested" in events like Mardi Gras, tickets to the official after-party at Moore Park sold out completely.

A late release of tickets made available through Ticketek at noon on Friday was snapped up in just four minutes. And though Mardi Gras organisers warned they would not accept passes bought from scalpers, sellers on internet auction sites such as e-bay were demanding up to $500.

Highlights of the after-party included Olivia Newton-John, who brought the house down with a performance of her campy 80s classic, 'Xanadu'.

Veteran showgirl Carlotta joined cabaret star David Campbell and 40 drag artists for a rendition of 'I Am What I Am' from La Cage Aux Folles, while Cyndi Lauper closed the celebrations at 8am Sunday with a rendition of her anthem, 'Girls Just Want to Have Fun'.

Source: SX News








Mardi Gras is a great time to celebrate with our friends. But not everyone is happy that we're out and about.

While homophobic violence can and does happen anywhere and anytime, more of it happens around Mardi Gras and especially on parade and party night.

Because we're more visible during the Mardi Gras season, we can become even more of a target for violence, harassment and abuse.

Here are some ways to celebrate who we are and stay safe while we're out and about because together we can…

Travel to and from venues with friends.

Most homophobic violence happens when people are walking in public places like streets or parks. You can stay safe by taking some basic precautions.

  • There's safety in numbers so stick with your mates when you travel between venues or to and from a party.
  • Stay alert, be aware of your surroundings and trust your instincts. Cross the road if you have to avoid a situation that doesn't feel right. If you're alone, avoid dark streets, catch a cab and carry a whistle to alert others of danger.
  • Cover up your party clothes or get changed at the party to avoid being a target.

Stick with our mates if they're drunk or out of it.

Sometimes our mates have too much too quickly. Or they're not sure of what they've taken. Or they've had their drink spiked. Whatever the situation, mates look after each other - because that's what mates do.

  • If you're at one of the big events and a friend is not well, seek assistance from an ACON Rover (the ones in the bright pink vests) or a medic.
  • If a friend is drunk or out of it at party or event, help them get home safely. If they're getting a cab, stay with them until it arrives. Get them to sit in the back and make sure the driver knows your friend will call you when they've arrived safely at the next destination.
  • If your friend is really out of it, don't leave them on their own - either stay with them or help them get assistance.

Report all violence and harassment to the AVP by SMS 0416 905 105

The Lesbian & Gay Anti-Violence Project (AVP) works to reduce violence against members of our community. The AVP's Report Line allows staff to offer support and assistance to victims of violence, collect data on gay and lesbian hate crimes, and advocate for better security. So it's important that ALL incidents get reported to the AVP.

  • You can make a report by SMS to 0416 905 105 or by calling the AVP on 9206 2116 or 1800 063 060. You can also report online at or visit the staff at the AVP Safe Place at 60 Oxford Street (Mon-Fri: 3:30pm-6pm, Fri-Sat: 11pm - 5am)
  • In an emergency call 000.
  • Otherwise call the NSW Police switchboard on 9281 0000 and ask for a Gay and Lesbian Liaison Officer.
  • If you're outside Sydney, you can still make an SMS report to 0416 905 105. Alternatively, you can get in touch with the staff at one of ACON's regional offices in the Hunter, Illawarra, Northern Rivers or on the Mid North Coast.

For more information, call 1800 063 060.

Related Links

Information courtesy of:  ACON - Together We Can