WorldPride Is Ready to Light up Sydney, Here’s What’s On

WorldPride Is Ready to Light up Sydney, Here’s What’s On

‘Gay Christmas’ is almost upon us, and by that, I mean WorldPride 2023. To make things even better, next year’s event will be hosted by none other than Down Under’s darling city, Sydney.

Not only is the festival a massive deal for the Australian LGBTQIA+ community, but it also allows people across the globe to see how fabulous we are. Also, Kylie Minogue is headlining the opening concert, and that is enough to send my gay heart into a meltdown.

For those who celebrate, there are a whole bunch of iconic events with massive names that you simply do not want to miss out on, so consider this your ultimate guide to all things WorldPride 2023.

What is WorldPride?

Image: Getty

If you’re unfamiliar with WorldPride, it is a global LGBTQIA+ festival that has been staged since 2000. Much like the Olympics, different cities across the globe compete to host the event every few years.

Hosting rights are licensed by InterPride, which has representatives from nearly every Pride/Mardi Gras organisation around the world. Previous locations include New York in 2019 (marking 50 years since the Stonewall uprising) and Cophenhagen in 2021 to coincide with the Euro Games.

WorldPride 2023 is extra special because it’s the first time a city in the southern hemisphere has been chosen to host the event. It’s pretty cool to see an Aussie city hold that title forever.

Sydney WorldPride will coincide with the beloved Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras events.

The first WorldPride celebration took place in Rome in July 2000 and was followed by Jerusalem in 2006. London, Toronto and Madrid have also hosted the event in previous years.

Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras were successful in winning the bid to host WorldPride all the way back in 2019. We were competing against Houston, USA and Montreal, Canada.

Where and when is WorldPride 2023?

As mentioned, Sydney is the lucky home of WorldPride for 2023, so the events will obviously be occurring across the city.

Sydney WorldPride 2023 runs for 17 days, from 17 February to 5 March 2023. 

It will incorporate Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras events which usually run every year in the same weeks.

What’s on?

The full festival program contains more than 300 events which will be revealed in November 2022. Obviously, we can’t list all of them, so here are the big ones to watch out for.

As with the usual Mardi Gras, there will be free and ticketed events that you can check out.

Mardi Gras Fair Day – Sunday, February 19

From 10:00 am to 9:00 pm on Sunday, the Mardi Gras Fair Day will have over 200 retail, information and food stalls as well as giveaways and family-friendly picnic areas.

There will also be entertainment throughout the day and night.

Conchita Wurst will also be headlining the Fair Day performances, which is something you won’t want to miss out on.

Find more details here.

House of Homes – February 22

Absolut is launching House of Homes with a Housewarming Party on February 22 to celebrate the original chosen families in queer culture, Ballroom Houses.

The Alex in Alexandria will be turned into a museum to pay homage to Ballroom and Vogue culture in Australia. The House of Homes exhibition will be on display from 22 February to 5 March.

Note: this isn’t part of the official WorldPride events but one that is in partnership with Absolut and Merrivale.

Marri Madung Butbut: First Nations Gathering Space – Thursday, February 23 – Tuesday, February 28

Marri Madung Butbut will take place at Carriageworks on Gadigal land and will go for six days.

It’s the largest global First Nations LGBTQIA+SB program to take place in Australia, which is pretty cool and something everyone should check out.

There will be First Nations queer artists sharing their talents and voices for all of Sydney to enjoy with free exhibits, theatre, dining and drag shows.

Everyone is welcome to witness the oldest surviving culture on the planet.

Find out more here.

Image: Sydney World Pride 2023

Sydney WorldPride 2023 Opening Concert – Friday, February 24

The opening concert for Sydney WorldPride 2023 is stacked with some absolutely iconic names in the Australian queer scene.

Aussie legend and global pop superstar Kylie Minogue is the confirmed headline act for the Sydney WorldPride opening concert in 2023. It’s okay to scream in queer joy; I sure did.

In addition to Kylie, Casey Donovan and Courtney Act are the official hosts of the opening concert.

It’s also been announced that global music icon Charlie XCX and Aussie pop princess Jess Mauboy will be performing alongside Kylie.

The concert will take place on February 24, 2023. General Admission tickets are currently exhausted, so if you missed out, you can watch the concert live on the ABC.

Pride Villages: Friday, February 24 – Sunday, March 5

We all know that Oxford Street is the queer street in Sydney, home to the Mardi Gras Parade and many LGBTQIA+ venues. As such, WorldPride will be closing traffic and creating a festival hub (for free).

Crown Street will be closed between Oxford and Campbell Streets for nine days from February 24. As will Riley Street between Oxford and Goulburn Streets. These areas will have daily stalls, performances, dining and a place to reconnect between different events.

There will also be nightly shows and on the final weekend (March 4-5), Oxford Street will be closed for a once-in-a-lifetime street party stretching from Liverpool Street to Flinders Street.

Find more details here.

Mardi Gras Parade – Saturday, February 25

sydney world pride
World Pride 2023. Image: Sydney WorldPride

The iconic Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras’ is back and this year is the 45th anniversary so expect an even bigger and more colourful turnout.

It’s also making its return back to Oxford Street after COVID restrictions meant it had to be held at the SCG for a couple of years. The parade starts and 6:00 pm and ends at 11:00 pm.

This year’s theme is Gather, Dream, Amplify. 

It’s also been announced that The Veronicas will be performing on the American Express float, which makes the parade even more iconic.

For more details on the parade, head here.

Domain Dance Party – Sunday, February 26

From 3:00 pm to 10:00 pm, DJ Dan Slater and the iconic Kelly Rowland will throw the biggest LGBTQIA+ circuit event in Australia.

Taking place in the open-air surrounds of The Domain, there will be a bunch of performances from local acts and DJs.

It’s a 7-hour event, so wear shoes you can dance the day away in.

Find more details here.

Sydney WorldPride Human Rights Conference: Wednesday, March 1 – March 3

Switching gears from all the dancing and partying, the Sydney WorldPride 2023 Human Rights Conference is a three-day exploration of LGBTQIA+ human rights and chronicles where we are now and where we can go in the future.

It’s the largest LGBTQIA+ Human Rights Conference to be ever held in the southern hemisphere.

Hear from academics, lawyers, activists and trailblazers from across the globe about how queer human rights are shaped in today’s society and also celebrate how far we have come, whilst working towards a safer future.

Find out more here.

Mardi Gras Sissy Ball – Saturday, March 4

The Mardi Gras Sissy Ball is a celebration of transgender communities across Australia and the world in the form of a vogue ball.

Legendary queer houses from across the globe will compete in Australia’s biggest vogue ball and battle it out to receive the highest scores across different categories from a panel of judges.

The Sissy Ball will take place at Sydney Town Hall from 6:00 pm to 11:00 pm.

Find more details and register to walk here.

Closing Concert – Sunday, March 5

Image: Spotify

Everyone knows that every good party goes out with a bang, and that’s exactly what’s going to happen for Sydney WorldPride 2023 closing concert.

The closing concert, called the Rainbow Republic, presented by Optus, is packed with massive names in the LGBTQIA+ music industry.

Kim Petras has been announced as the headliner for the closing concert, which is huge news.

MUNA, an international indie alternative pop band, will be making their Aussie debut at Rainbow Republic. MUNA is responsible for hits like ‘Silk Chiffon’ and ‘What I Want’

The event will be hosted by Keiynan Lonsdale, who will also be performing as part of the seven-hour queer megamix of live music, DJs and dancing.

G Flip, Peach PRC, Alter Boy, BVT and Vetta Borna are also going to be performing. More acts will be revealed later in the year.

Rainbow Republic will take place at The Domain on Sunday, 5 March 2023.

Tickets for Rainbow Republic are currently available via Moshtix.

Queer Screen’s Mardi Gras Film Festival

world pride sydney 2023
Image: Supplied

The Queer Screen Mardi Gras Film Festival will run from 15 February to 2 March 2023. The Festival will screen at eight venues across Sydney, including Event Cinemas (George Street), Dendy Cinema (Newtown) and Ritz Cinemas (Randwick). Other venues will be announced closer to the dates.

It’s also the Festival’s 30th anniversary, so it’s a very special time for Aussie queer cinema.

Tickets for the first eight films are on sale now.

Uber Vengabus – Friday, February 17 – March 5 

worldpride Sydney 2023
Image: Supplied by Uber

In iconic fashion, Uber is launching its Pride Ride bus which will be a free hop-on, hop-off party bus hosted by none other than the Vengaboys as well as fabulous Aussie LGBTQIA+ legends.

The aim is to make sure that festival goers travel around the heart of WorldPride safely but in style, of course. The bus will travel around Sydney CBD from 6:30 pm to 10:00 pm each day and perform a City Circle Loop starting at Australian Museum.

Each Pride Ride includes a lineup of drag bingo and karaoke with drag royalty (Jojo Zaho, Coco Jumbo, Maxi Shield, Etcetera Etcetera to name a few) as well as educational talks from Black Rainbow.

Note: this isn’t part of the official WorldPride events but one organised by Uber.

The Last Dance – Sunday, March 5 

On the last day of WorldPride 2023, The Beresford is throwing a supersized instalment of its famous Beresford Sundays.

You can find out more about the event here.

Note: this isn’t part of the official WorldPride events but one that is in partnership with Absolut and Merrivale.

Drag Brunches: 

If you’re looking for some great drag brunches to attend during WorldPride, here are a few you can experience.

Note: these brunches aren’t part of the official WorldPride events but one that is in partnership with Absolut and Merrivale.

  • Drag Queen Chow – Friday, February 24: From 12:00 pm to 3:00 pm, Queen Chow Enmore has a 3-course set menu of delicious Cantonese food and a Watermelon Sugar Pride Absolut cocktail on arrival. Iconic Sydney drag performers, Holly Would, Karna Ford and AKIKO will provide 3 hours of incredible performances, hosting and good vibes. You can get tickets here.
  • Pride Brunch: Coogee Rooftop – Saturday, February 25: Coogee Rooftop is hosting 3 hours of free-flowing drinks, canapés and Poof Doof talent to dance the morning away. The drinks package will run from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm. You can book here.
  • Drag Brunch: Step Back In Time – Friday, March 3: From 11:00 am, The Beresford is stepping back in time with Minnie Cooper, Mynx Moscato and Fairah Nuff. Hyde as they journey to the past with a full-stage production during brunch. They’ll take you from the 20s to the 50s all the way to the 80s as you enjoy cocktails and a 3-course shared menu. You can book here.

Archie Rose X Bar 83 – Friday, 18 February – March 5

For WorldPride, Archie Rose is taking over Sydney’s highest cocktail bar, Bar 83, with brand-new cocktails and a lineup of incredible DJs curated by House of Mince.

While you overlook the Sydney skyline, Bar 83 is offering the most glamourous pre-game and post-performance event to soak up WorldPride.

Bar 83 will be transformed into a Pride wonderland from 18 February to 5 March, offering DJ sets every night.

You can find out more about it here.

How to get tickets to Sydney WorldPride 2023

Tickets for all the official events are available through Sydney WorldPride.

If you’re looking for tickets for community events, check out Pride Amplified.

First Nations Peoples are able to get discounted tickets (if any are still available) via Mobtix. Concession holders can get discounts through World Pride’s affordability program.

We will keep updating this article when more information about the events is released, so stay tuned.

This article has been updated since publication. 

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