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Thirty, Flirty & Thriving

fabALICE Festival is the annual celebration of drag, cabaret and LGBTQIA+, and returns to the Red Centre this month. 2024 marks the 30th anniversary of legendary and iconic Australian flick, The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, and the inspo behind this year's frivolity. Get the glitter.

By Betty Sweetlove

FABALICE IS BACK and bigger than ever, with free and ticketed events for the whole family in Mparntwe/Alice Springs over four fabulous days. A unique showcase of drag and cabaret culture, the program sparkles with an inclusive and diverse line-up of events for all ages.

An homage to the hit 1984 Aussie film, this year’s theme is Priscilla (Dirty Thirty). Expect glitz and desert glamour, as festival-goers embark on a journey of comedy, community and a celebration of all things Priscilla.

Event Manager Dale McIver says the iconic film’s connection with the Red Centre inspired the founding of fabALICE by a passionate local group, including Festival Chair, Stuart Ord.

“Priscilla and Alice Springs go very well together, and obviously with the 30th anniversary, it’s a great opportunity to really tap into that. People will see that across the performances across the weekend, with lots of Priscilla-themed outfits, music and performances,” she says.

In a huge scoop for the festival, award-winning electric-soul duo Electric Fields headline Saturday night’s event Under the Stars at the old Quarry. The five-hour extravaganza is hosted by NT’s much-loved Miss Ellaneous and Marzi Panne from Party Passport, and includes a host of performers tearing up the star-lit stage.

“Alice Springs has got a really good reputation for performers, it’s one of those really iconic destinations for them to come,” McIver says.

Across the four-day festival, the spotlight is on inclusion and celebration. Behind the scenes, a dedicated volunteer board gives their time and expertise to grow the festival year on year. Fuelled by the growing appreciation of drag culture across Australia, McIver says the committee is eager to contribute by enriching local talent.

“It’s something we’re definitely looking at as we grow the event – how we can help support and grow those local artists that want to come along for that journey. Hopefully we can be their stepping stone to being national artists as well.”

Not just for the grown-ups, fabALICE is full of fabulous free events to delight the whole community. Families are invited to sing along at the Library for Drag Queen Storytime, and grab their [eco-friendly] glitter for the Priscilla Street Parade and Family Fun Day. McIver says it’s a festival of, and for, all.

“We just encourage everyone to come and enjoy the festival, whether it be a paid ticket or one of free community events – come and be a part of it.”


Photos: Oliver Eclipse

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