Mardi Gras has big things planned for Sydney in 2020. The annual celebration of Australia’s LGBTQI+ community kicks off on 14 February and runs until 1 March, with a packed calendar of events spanning music, dance, cabaret and a free, late-night club across the two-week extravaganza.
All events on this year’s schedule are unified under the theme of “What matters?”, a celebration of those leading the charge in the fight for equality for the LGBTQI+ community. This is what we know so far.
As ever, the biggest event on the calendar is the parade, which will snake through Oxford and Flinders Streets on the evening of 29 February.
This year’s parade is expected to feature more than 200 floats, kicking off with the roar of the Dykes on Bikes procession. The parade gets underway from 7.30pm at Hyde Park and ends at 11pm at Anzac Parade, Moore Park.
Tickets to Mardi Gras’ parade viewing stands at Taylor Square and Flinders Street are now available but don’t worry if you’re on a budget: anyone can watch the Mardi Gras parade without a ticket from street level.
As for where to watch from for free? You can grab a spot anywhere along the 1.7 kilometre route. Taylor’s Square is generally the most popular viewing spot, though you might have better luck finding room along Flinders Street. Many bars and clubs along Oxford Street offer their own drink packages with access to balconies; check individual venue websites for details.
The Qantas float at the 2019 Mardi Gras parade. Image credit: Jeffrey Feng Photography.
The two-week schedule also boasts theatre performances, thought-provoking talks and family-focused events at venues around the city.
Highlights include the Mardi Gras party, headlined by British pop sensation Dua Lipa, the award-winning circus You & I and the Fringe Festival hit Hot Brown Honey. Sissy Ball, a collaboration with Bhenji Ra inspired by New York’s vogue ballroom scene, also returns to this year’s event line-up on 22 February at the Enmore Theatre.
The Festival Hub at the Seymour Centre will also host the returning two-day conference event Queer Thinking on 22 and 23 February, where panels will discuss topics centred on LGBTQI identity and politics.
Watch this space as more exciting events and parties are revealed in the lead-up to February.
Tickets to other Mardi Gras events can be purchased through the website.
Image credit: Don Arnold/WireImage