A record breaking SpringOUT festival is expected in 2017, with over 40 events packing the calendar over the month-long celebrations. This year’s festival is shaping up to be the biggest since it began in 1999, as Canberra proudly lives up to its ambition of being one of the most diverse and inclusive cities in the world.
The festival kicks off on Friday the 28th of October and boasts a wide range of events that aim to strengthen the lives and rights of the local LGBTIQ community.
The festival saw record crowds and online engagement in 2016 and 2017 is set to be bigger still.
The official calendar will be released in early October, but in the meantime, here are the big events that you need to get in your diary:
- October 28: Fair Day and After Party
- October 28 – November 26: Queerberra Art Exhibition at East Hotel
- November 4: Women’s Dance
- November 12: BAKE
- November 18: Parade through the city to Glebe Park and After Event
- November 19: Big Gay Breakfast
- November 26: Bushdance
- November 26: Canberra Gay and Lesbian Qwire performance
The SpringOUT volunteer team has grown immensely in its 18-year existence, something that current chairman Mat Knobel is very proud of.
“The festival has grown so much in the last few years, we are really starting to become a part of the cultural calendar in Canberra,” says Mat.
“All of our events are popular; there’s Fair Day which gets Canberrans from all suburbs together, but we’re also seeing lots more interstate visitors.”
The most popular event throughout the month is the Fair Day, due to its size and promise of a fun filled day of markets, fabulous food and entertainment celebrating the diversity of Canberra’s LGBTIQ communities.
SpringOUT provides a taste of the country’s biggest LGBTIQ pride celebration, Sydney’s Mardi Gras, taking place in February 2018.
Organisers say though that the idea isn’t to copy the infamous Mardi Gras festival, despite sharing a similar purpose and message.
“When we started SpringOUT we never thought we could compete with Mardi Gras, but now we hold our own. We are up there with big events like the multicultural festival and we want to have our own identity,” Mat says.
Mat says that it’s the people, more than anything, that make SpringOUT such a special event.
“The community in Canberra is close knit, friendly, and welcoming. I think you see that moreso here than in other cities. With the ACT Government’s help, we’re making Canberra the most LGBTIQ friendly city in Australia,” Mat says.
“There is a lot of love out there,” he adds.
To find out more about the SpringOUT festival, head to www.springout.com.au.