POSTED ON 05 MAY, 2021

This Pride Month, we are proud to launch the inaugural Mardi Gras Pride Weekender; a takeover of Sydney’s Metro Theatre for two days of conversation and celebration while also honouring Mardi Gras’ history and heritage.

2021 marks the first time Mardi Gras has held this many events in Pride Month since 1980! The occasion is extra special as it will also serve as the official re-opening of The Metro Theatre after COVID.

Mardi Gras Pride Weekender is part of Sydney Solstice, a new winter event celebrating Sydney’s world-class food and beverage, music, entertainment, arts and culture.

Express Yourself – Queer Discovery 
Friday 18 June 2021 
7pm – 9pm  

Celebrating the momentous reopening of The Metro Theatre, beloved Australian singer/songwriter Alex The Astronaut leads the line-up on this special Mardi Gras Pride Weekender edition of Express Yourself, which will serve as the first night of live music at the venue since early 2020. 

Alex will be joined by emerging artists including rapper and producer BVT, alternative pop-rocker Hope D, electro-pop artist NIK NAVY, and super singer/songwriter duo No Frills Twins. Presenter, producer and DJ Faustina Agolley will be on hosting duties for the evening. 

The judging panel will comprise of folktronica singer Gordi, national treasure Marcia Hines, APRA AMCOS CEO Dean Ormston, Mardi Gras CEO Albert Kruger and special guest judge Starley. 

A joint initiative between Mardi Gras and APRA AMCOS, Express Yourself – Queer Discovery is a series of music showcases aiming to foster and provide a platform for emerging LGBTQI+ artists. Each showcase sees these artists perform alongside an established headliner to a room of industry heavyweights and the general public. At the end of the series, a panel of judges will select two emerging artists to perform at a future Mardi Gras event. 

Queer Thinking: Religious Discrimination and the Fights Ahead 
Saturday 19 June 2021
1pm – 2:30pm 

Presented by Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras in partnership with Equality Australia

Whether it’s attempts to ‘cure’ us or experiences of discrimination at school or work, LGBTQI+ people face threats to their safety and wellbeing every day in the name of religion. 

While it’s clear that most Australians support LGBTQI+ people, extremist Christian lobby groups are pouring resources into campaigns to stigmatise and marginalise our communities, particularly transgender people.  

It’s time to build a strong movement for equality that includes us all.  

In this free-to-attend 1.5-hour forum, you will hear from LGBTQI+ people of faith, religious leaders and activists including Karen Pack, a teacher who was sacked by a Sydney Christian college for being gay; Equality Australia Legal Director Ghassan Kassisieh; Australia’s first gay Imam Nur Wasame; Australia’s first transgender priest Jo Inkpin and Dr Kerryn Phelps. ABC presenter and current-affairs journalist Fran Kelly will facilitate the conversation.

Bring your rage, your solidarity and your curiosity as SGLMG partners with Equality Australia and learn how you can help ensure that we are all free to work, study and live with dignity. 

Tickets are free but registration is essential due to COVID-19 regulations.

My Drag Story 
Saturday 19 June 2021 
3:30pm – 5pm 

Presented by Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras in association with FEM Presents 
Curated by Anthony Carthew and hosted by Hannah Conda

With Priscilla, Queen of the Desert  stamped on our national identity and Drag Race sashaying across screens there’s no doubt drag has sunk its six-inch heels into the mainstream.

Fabulous glamour, outrageous shade and shouts of ‘Yaas queen!’ or ‘G’day darl!’ are now familiar scenes not only along our inner-city rainbow strips but across our suburban landscape of pubs, clubs and backyards. 

From the heady days of Oxford Street’s “Golden Mile” to the diverse fabulousness many decades later – our nation’s alumni of drag artists have proudly carved a cheeky and quintessentially Aussie path through our cultural playbook. 

The ultimate expression of queerness, drag has often been a defiant voice for our communities – in a passionate celebration of pride and rage against injustice. 

Premiering to rave reviews at the 2021 festival, My Drag Story uncorsets a brand spanking, glittery new line up of drag legends and up-and-coming royalty including Bee Dazzled Shanks Prince of RedfernDizzy BilityDorreen ManganiniMinnie Cooper and the one and only Miss 3D.

Spin-Off 2021 
Saturday 19 June 2021 
6:30pm – 12am 

Making its grand return in 2021, DJ competition Spin-Off is being reignited for Mardi Gras Pride Weekender in search of Australia’s next generation of LGBTQI+ DJs. 

A community favourite throughout the noughties and ‘10s, Spin-Off provides a platform for bedroom producers and amateur DJs to get behind the decks in front of a party audience and battle it out on the ones and twos.  

This is a landmark event for 2021, being the first dance party held at The Metro since early 2020, with none other than multi-ARIA Award winner K.I.M (The Presets) closing out the event as special guest headliner.

Winners will have the chance to perform at a future Mardi Gras event with the competition judged by Australian DJ royalty, including DJ GemmaKate MonroeFeistySeymour Butz and Charlie Villas.

First prize: A set at a 2022 Mardi Gras event and 2x VIP tickets to Party
Second Prize: 2x tickets to Diamond Club
Third Prize: 2x tickets to Laneway

Sydney Solstice showcases the best of Sydney’s hospitality, music, arts and culture within four precincts across the city in June. Bringing together Sydney’s best venues, chefs, artists and musicians, Sydney Solstice takes locals and visitors from urban laneways to city landmarks, inside hidden bars to glittering harbourside locations. Sydney Solstice is a NSW Government initiative managed by its tourism and major events agency Destination NSW.