One of Sydney's most-celebrated and most important cultural and world famous events, the Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, kicks off for the 41st time bringing colour, self-expression and love to the streets of Sydney for three weeks.
If you're heading to Sydney to join the celebrations or just want to watch from afar for the final weekend of Mardi Gras - we've got you covered with this handy guide!
What Is The Sydney Gay And Lesbian Mardi Gras?
The Mardi Gras is a celebration of LGBTQI+ people and is one of the landmark events on the Sydney social calendar. For two and a half weeks in February and March, the city becomes a rainbow of colour and hundreds of events dot the city celebrating the culture and diversity of the LGBTQI+ community.
One of the centrepieces of Mardi Gras celebrations is the Mardi Gras Parade, which has a long history stretching back to 1979.
On Saturday June 24, 1978, hundreds of people - gay, lesbian and straight - marched down Oxford Street to Hyde Park with music blaring from a truck. The event was in support of the National Homosexual Conference and in protest of the upcoming visit of homophobic campaigner Mary Whitehouse. As the march made its way to Hyde Park, police constantly dogged the revellers and as the march diverted to Darlinghurst Road, police ended up beating and arresting 53 men and women.
The legacy of that first march lives on in the annual Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras parade that takes place annually. Moreover, the first march changed legislation in the New South Wales Parliament, allowing for people to demonstrate without the need for a permit, as long as they informed police. The following year, up to 3000 revellers marched along the streets of Sydney and the following year, a huge after party was announced.
Not only does the Parade celebrate the LGBTQI+ community - it also champions the causes and highlights the issues that affect the community around the world.
When Is The 2019 Sydney Mardi Gras Parade?
The Mardi Gras Parade takes place on Saturday, 2 March 2019 at 7pm AEDT and concludes at 11pm AEDT. It is a free event. The Parade runs from Hyde Park down Oxford Street, turns at the Diamond Club down Flinders Street and finishes at Moore Park. You can view the route here. If you're looking to get to the Parade, the closest station is Museum, but it will be closed from 5pm AEDT Saturday evening, so plan accordingly.
Mardi Gras Parade 2019: How To Watch
If you're not heading to the event itself, you can still catch the stream online, with SBS providing full, live coverage through multiple different streaming platforms. You can view it at SBS On Demand, via their Twitter page or through their Facebook page.
That livestream is not geo-blocked so it can be watched from anywhere in the world. It will be hosted by news presenter Narelda Jacobs, comedian Joel Creasey, The Feed’s Patrick Abboud and local comedian Zoë Coombs Marr.
The official festival hashtag is #SydneyMardiGras.
And they have a neat look back at some of the best costumes of all time from previous Mardi Gras.
Where To Party During Sydney Mardi Gras 2019
The official Mardi Gras Party takes place at Playbill Venues in Fox Studios at Moore Park from 10pm AEDT, Saturday March 2.
The entertainers featured at the party include Jake Shears (of Scissor Sisters), Courtney Act, Briefs, HANDSOME, Paul Capsis and House of Slé featuring special guest Leiomy Maldonado. There's also PNAU and Kim Petras alongside DJ legends Boris from Berlin’s Berghain nightclub and Late Nite Tuff Guy.
And, for the first time, a game will have a float at Mardi Gras. Final Fantasy XIV will be the first video game to have a float at the Mardi Gras parade.
If you're planning to attend, remember that glitter has been banned this year. Mardi Gras chief executive Terese Casu said: “We used to bring in about three tonnes of glitter from China. That goes in the gutter, it ends up in our oceans, our fish eat it, you find it in crab shells and oysters. We must be responsible and make really urgent changes.”
Offical tickets are being sold through TicketTek and start at $186.20 plus handling fees.
You'll need to be over 18 to enter.
However, that isn't your only option, of course. Most of Sydney will be alive, especially the pubs and clubs between Hyde Park and Moore Park. If you think those pesky Sydney lockout laws are going to ruin all the fun - there is some good news. Minister for Racing, Paul Toole announced on Twitter that there will be exemptions for venues on Saturday night.
For a full list of LGBTQI+ friendly locations visit the link below.
Celebrating at home? Appliances Online has put together a video on how to make a rainbow and glitter coffee. Check it out below!
However you spend Mardi Gras, enjoy yourself and be safe this weekend!