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Proud to Party

Every June, the LGBTQIA+ community is celebrated across the country during national Pride Month. And although equality is something to be celebrated every day of the year, it’s a wonderful opportunity to reflect on how far civil rights have come in Australia. And, of course, the perfect excuse to party.

By Tierney Seccull

Darwin Pride Festival returns to shine a light on our colourful queer community, offering a program of free and ticketed events over four huge days and nights with music, dance, comedy, workshops, forums, brunch – of the bottomless kind! – and the much loved, hugely attended Pride March.

The bulk of the action takes place around the Brown’s Mart Precinct, the fun and games spilling out into the neighbouring grassy grounds of Civic Park. There, the stage is set for one of the biggest events in Darwin Pride history, the jewel in this year’s crown, the inaugural Darwin Pride Music Festival.

Chair of Top End Pride Sean Taylor says the inaugural Music Festival makes 2023 one the biggest on record, showcasing a diverse melting pot of talent.

“It’s one of the biggest, because of the Music Festival … we wanted to showcase different types of LGBTQIA+ talent, and music is one of the ways of sharing and expressing messages around what LGBTQIA+ people face,” he says.

“Our theme is Embrace Different, Somewhere Different, and we wanted it to be something different for Darwin ... People can relate to music, about the struggles they are facing.”

Darwin Pride Music Festival features performances from local and interstate artists, DJs and drag queens, and headlined by international dance music darling, VASSY. The Darwin-grown singer has already had a huge 2023 – topping the US dance charts with her tune ‘Pieces’ and making history as the first woman to win the EDMA ICON Award – but says coming home to perform is very special.

“I’m really excited to do this, because coming home to perform in my hometown – for such a special occasion, as a first time going down in history – it’s an honour. I’ve performed so many Pride festivals all around the US every year, and I’ve never done a Pride for Darwin, let alone perform in my hometown. It’s really, really special on so many fronts,” she says.

“And I’m performing with a full band, which is going to be great because I haven’t done that in a while … and it’s all locals – I’ve involved all of the local guys in it so that everyone can be part of it and celebrate. You know, it’s not just me – it’s sharing with my community and showcasing local talent. We’re gonna have fun!”

Pride offers the chance to have a great time whilst reflecting on how far we’ve come. Although we’ve seen some movement in the station with the progression of queer rights, Pride Chair Sean Taylor says it’s important to remember the continued need to shine a light on these challenges.

“Pride represents the history, the fight and the struggles our LGBTQIA+ activists and the population have faced over the years since the Stonewall Riots. Many people are still facing the discrimination, the stigma, and the unacceptance of people in the wider community, so we still need to educate … these types of events make people feel as though they are part of the community, they are not different.”

For a few fun and frivolous days supporting our queer community, get frocked up and pop on your dancing shoes – it’s time to party with Pride!

Darwin Pride Festival

Thumbnail & header: Darwin Pride March
Inset: Vassy

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