What better way to celebrate Australia’s long-overdue embracing of marriage equality than by escaping two hours north east of the city to the lush surrounds of Marysville’s Lake Mountain Alpine Resort for the third annual Gaytimes festival?
Taking the term ‘camp’ to the next level, the three days, two nights-long celebration of all things LGBTIQ encourages you to pack a tent, let it all hang out and sleep under the stars (or wuss out and opt for fancy pants glamping).
Organised by the team that brings you Melbourne’s monthly Closet party, the Gaytimes music line-up is unsurprisingly slick. New York producer and rapper Le1f, who slew with ‘Wut’, has never shied away from singing out loud and proud in a hip-hop scene that’s infamously homophobic.
He’ll be joined by homegrown legends including Sydneysider Alex the Astronaut, who came out spectacularly with track ‘Not Worth Hiding’, penned while she was on a soccer scholarship in New York.
Dapper ‘Free to Love’ singer Brendan Maclean raised more than a few eyebrows with his seriously NSFW video for Funbang1 single ‘House of Air’ (we dare you to check it out, prior warning given). He’ll no doubt bring his irreverent charms to Gaytimes.
With Bec Sandridge, Tigertown, Froyo and Ladyhood all on board, Sydney’s Stereogamus and US star Chrissy will be pushing house and disco beats that will see you through the eve in Gaytimes’ late-night club.
We’re also massively psyched for Brisbane-based rapper and trans woman of colour Miss Blanks.
Last year she told last year told i-D magazine, “For so long, women of colour, especially trans women of colour, have been seen as an inconvenience and for the first time in Australian music I get to be highly visible. I get to say what I wanna say.”
We can’t wait to hear her roar. And it’s not just the live music that will have Gaytimes rocking, there will also be self-love master classes run by sexperts (and cousins) Rural Ranga and burlesque queen Strawberry Siren, bringing their handy guide that won rave reviews at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
Speed dating, fortune telling and life drawing classes will also contribute to the gay abandon, and yoga session to limber up. Gay Stuff, the monthly LGBTIQ-made goodies marketplace usually held at Fitzroy institution Hares & Hyenas, will also decamp to Gaytimes for the weekend, so you can stock up on t-shirts, stylish homewares to pimp out your tent and add a bit of bling to your fierce festival look.
With the festival serious about welcoming folks from across the rainbow spectrum, there will also be a dedicated Transgentle space for gender diverse campers and their allies who just want to chill out. LGBT giving circle The Channel will have volunteer safety ambassadors on site all weekend to make sure everyone’s doing a-ok.
You won’t go hungry either with Taco Truck and Toasta on hand to feed the masses, washed down with Brunswick mob Wide Open Road’s coffee, or Coldstream cider and cold tinnies of Sample Brew beer. A volunteer-run breakfast bar Canteen will help raise funds for LGBTIQ charities.
There will also be a dedicated cocktail bar, Priscilla’s, serving up espresso martinis, Aperol spritz, peach Bellinis and blackberry sours because when in the country, queer folks need to stay suitably lubricated. Emergency Bloody Marys will be available for recovery sessions.
If you’re planning to drive home, safety campaign Vanessa will breath test happy campers as well as sponsoring the Gaytimes Shuttle Bus to get you to and from the fest if you’re minus wheels. But get in quick because final tickets, glamping tents and bus seats are flying out the door faster than a drag queen spurned.
Single and wondering what to do on Valentine's Day? Check out this anti-Valentine's Day singles party.
Image credit: supplied