The spirit of inclusivity sparkles at this flamboyant four-day festival in Alice Springs.
“The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert challenged people’s ideas about what Australia is, and all the different groups that are part of life here,” says Thomas Coelli of FabAlice (7 to 10 March; ), a four-day showcase of drag, comedy and cabaret in the Red Centre. “The film did it with a lot of fun and a lot of sparkle and, in many ways, it’s what we’re trying to do with our festival, too.”
With 2024 marking the 30th anniversary of the beloved movie, organisers of the festival in Alice Springs (Mparntwe) aren’t letting the moment pass by without a party. “The entire event will be a homage to the film,” says board chair Stuart Ord, who is hoping to welcome 5000 visitors this year. “Our official opening on Thursday evening will be at Lasseters – the casino featured in the movie. There’s also something we’re calling the Budget Barbie Camper Town Tour, where some of our performers will take punters on hour-long tours around town.”
The jostling schedule of events includes night markets in Todd Mall and a gala held in an open-air quarry – headlined by Electric Fields and Rhonda Burchmore. “We’ll have drag storytime in the library for the little tackers during the day,” says Ord. “And festivities will continue well into the night, with loads of performances from drag queens like Constantina Bush from Katherine and Freddie Merkin from down in Melbourne.”
Make it a weekend
Drop in to the Priscilla Bar at Lasseters for a drink, to meet performers or take in a drag show. Elsewhere, The Rooftop Bar at Epilogue Lounge is the best spot to watch the sunset with a frosty NT Lager in hand. Although Alice proper has Crowne Plaza Alice Springs Lasseters and Hilton Darwin, those in search of something surprising will love Ooraminna Station Homestead, a collection of four charming private cabins and an equal number of glamping bell tents perched around a billabong about half an hour outside town.
Image credits: Helen Orr