Australia’s LGBTQIA+ Festival Circuit

Have you thought about touring your show? Australia’s circuit of quality LGBTIQ+ festivals provides a unique opportunity to tour the country. It’s also a great opportunity for audiences to travel while sampling a diverse and eclectic range of events along the way. Volunteering for the various festivals is a great way to make new friends too!

Bendigo Queer Film Festival + Bendigo Pride Festival (Vic): March Annually
The Bendigo Queer Film Festival has been running since 2004, when it was founded by Chris Walters in collaboration with the Melbourne Queer Film Festival (who remain major supporters). The inaugural Bendigo Pride Festival was planned for 2020, but those plans were thwarted by COVID-19!

Broken Heel Festival (NSW): September Annually
The Broken Heel Festival is a fabulous three day festival which celebrates the theatrical anniversary of “Priscilla Queen of the Desert” at her spiritual home, The Palace Hotel and the township of Broken Hill.

Castlemaine Pride (Vic): April Annually
Castlemaine Pride is a volunteer-led community group that organises the festival each year. It all began in 2018 when Martyn Shaddick, Sherene Clow and Marion Yates organised a Pride Picnic – an act of healing after the dark days of the marriage equality debate and a thank-you to all those who supported the Queer community. From this humble origin, Castlemaine Pride has grown into a week-long celebration of the culture, history, creativity and determination of the LGBTQIA+ community in Mount Alexander.

ChillOut Festival (Daylesford) (Vic): March Annually – Labour Day long weekend
Held on the Labour Day Weekend in early March, the ChillOut Festival in Daylesford, one hour north of Melbourne, is one of the largest and longest-running Queer Pride events in regional Australia.

Coastal Twist Festival (NSW): October Annually
Central Coast NSW’s good vibes, all out LGBTIQA+ inclusion festival. This dynamic festival embodies authentic inclusion of all peoples. 75mins from Sydney, 90mins from Newcastle. In 2022 there will be a special Queer Summer weekend getaway followed by the traditional Spring edition of Queer happenings including cabaret, dance party & exhibition to the ‘Coastie-Carnie’ day with the three signature events Hour of Drag Power, Puparazzi Pooch Parade and the world’s first LGBTQI longboarding event.

Feast Festival (SA): November Annually
Feast has grown since 1997 from a community arts festival for the lesbian and gay community in Adelaide to become a major event on the festival calendar in South Australia.

Frolic Festival (Vic): February + Frolic Dark Rainbow: June Annually
Frolic is a not-for-profit festival run by a small team of like-minded Ballaratians who want to support and show off the wonderful diversity of the region – and have lots of fun doing it.

Gaytimes Festival (Vic): February annually
The camping music festival of your big gay dreams – at Gembrook, in the foothills of the Dandenong Ranges.

Geelong Pride Film Festival (Vic): April Annually
A family friendly festival of LGBTQI films, normally screening at The Pivotonian Cinema and Platform Arts, Geelong.

Hot & Steamy Festival (Qld): February Annually
The Hot & Steamy Festival, held annually in Port Douglas since 2020, is an excellent example of diversity and inclusion of the LGBTQI+ community in Far North Queensland.

Leeton Pride Festival (NSW): Sept/October Biyearly
Leeton Pride Festival is a charity dedicated to celebrating and supporting the queer community and its allies. They strive to create a safe and welcoming atmosphere for everyone, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Melbourne Queer Film Festival (Vic): November Annually
Held twice per annum, in Autumn and again in November, MQFF is the largest and longest running queer film festival in Australia, screening the best Australian and International queer films, shorts and documentaries.

Midsumma Festival (Vic): Jan + February Annually
Midsumma has been Melbourne’s annual Queer Celebration since 1988 – with a smorgasbord of queer arts and cultural events spread over more than 100 different venues throughout Melbourne and Regional Victoria.

Newcastle Pride (NSW): October Annually
The Newcastle Pride Festival is an exciting, glamorous and “out n’ proud” series of events that aims to showcase to locals and visitors that Newcastle is a city of diversity, culture and beauty. Newcastle Pride is an inclusive, vibrant and fun not-for-profit LGBTIQ+ community-based organisation.

Out in the Open (Vic): November Annually
OUTintheOPEN is Shepparton’s newest festival celebrating community diversity. It was developed to address some of the inequalities faced by the local gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, intersex, queer (GLBTIQ) & allied communities and to build a more inclusive community in Greater Shepparton.

Perth Pride (WA): November Annually
Pride Western Australia is WA’s largest community group, representing the lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex community. Originally incorporated in 1993, its roots go back to the 1989 march on Parliament. PrideFest kicks off with a Parade and Celebration in November.

Southern HiBearnation (Vic): June Annually
Kicking off from the Queen’s Birthday Weekend in June, VicBears Southern Hibearnation brings together bears and their buddies from all over the planet for the largest and friendliest bear FUNdraising event in the South!

Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras (NSW): Feb + March Annually
SGLMG has existed since 1978 primarily for the benefit of Sydney’s LGBTQI community, the enjoyment of a wider audience and as a global beacon of diversity, acceptance and LGBTQI rights. It includes the iconic Parade and the Queer Screen queer film festival.

TasPride Festival (Tas): February Annually
TasPride began in 1992 and continue to be dedicated to celebrating, uniting and promoting the Tasmanian Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex and Queer community, through providing opportunities for everyone to come together and share our pride.

tilde film festival (Vic): Held in Spring annually
Established in 2014, tilde is a community-based, international film festival based in Melbourne, and one of a handful of trans and gender diverse (TGD) film festivals in the world.

Tropical Fruits (Lismore, NSW): Late Dec – early Jan annually
Established in 1988, Tropical Fruits Inc. is the premier GLBTI community group of the Northern Rivers region of New South Wales. They hold regular events throughout the year. The NYE Festival is a four-day celebration of the GLBTI community, with a CBD Parade, NYE Party, Pool Party and Recovery Party.

Wagga Wagga Mardi Gras (NSW): March Annually
A pride parade down the main street of Wagga Wagga, held annually on a Saturday in March.


Our Allies

In addition, a number of other Australian festivals are extremely queer-friendly. For example:

Adelaide Fringe (SA): Feb + March
The Adelaide Fringe Festival is Australia’s answer to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

Melbourne Cabaret Festival: July
Since its inauguration in 2010, the Melbourne Cabaret Festival has grown to become an iconic Melbourne event much loved by audiences and performers alike.

Melbourne Fringe Festival (Vic): October
Every year a number of shows ‘tour’ between Midsumma and the Melbourne Fringe.

Melbourne International Comedy Festival: March + April
The Melbourne International Comedy Festival, one of the three largest comedy festivals in the world alongside Edinburgh Festival Fringe and Montreal’s Just for Laughs Festival, always has a plethora of queer performers and queer-themed events.

Melbourne International Film Festival: August
MIFF is a not-for-profit organisation that has been continuously running since 1952, making it the leading film festival in Australia and one of the world’s oldest film festivals, alongside Cannes and Berlin.

Melbourne Writers Festival: May
The Melbourne Writers Festival is one of the reasons that Melbourne has been declared a Unesco City of Literature.

Next Wave Festival: Year Round
Next Wave is the most comprehensive platform in Australia for a new generation of artists taking creative risks.

St Kilda Film Festival: June
The St Kilda Film Festival supports the Australian film industry by turning the spotlight on a wide range of fascinating short film works that may not otherwise see the light of day.

Vic NAIDOC: July
NAIDOC stands for National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee. Vic NAIDOC Week is a time to celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history, culture and achievements.

Yirramboi Festival: May
YIRRAMBOI Festival is Australia’s premier First Nations arts and cultural event.


If planning on travelling overseas, or around Australia, check out our LGBTQI Festivals around the world blog page.