Not only is Daylesford’s ChillOut Festival turning 21 this year, but it will be their first queer pride festival after the law passing for same-sex marriage equality.
ChillOut’s festival director, Merryn Tinkler said the Hepburn area was one of the top 10 with the highest population of LGBTI members in Australia.
Ms Tinkler said this year’s festival would be bigger than ever, with more than 50 performances for the five-day event.
“It’s an opportunity for the LGBTI and regional community to come together and celebrate who they are,” she said.
The Chillout organisation is proud to be leading the way for other regional LGBTI groups, who have chosen to start up their own pride festivals, now that the laws have changed, including the Frolic Festival in Ballarat, and the Rainbow Festival in Geelong.
Ballarat drag queen, Gabriella Labucci, will be hosting a 21-question trivia night and a dog show at the event, as well as performing on the main stage.
Ms Labucci said ChillOut was a great opportunity to perform as there were limited options in the Ballarat area.
“I don’t get a lot of opportunities being in Ballarat. (ChillOut) is the closest thing to home to go out and do my thing and show the world how fabulous I am,” she said.
“I love the freedom of being able to get on stage and do whatever I want,” she said.
Ms Labucci said the annual event was a celebration and a chance for the LGBTI community to come together, especially for those who don’t have other avenues to do so.
“Even if it is only once a year, it's great to be with your people and be like ‘wow, I have a sense of belonging’,” she said.
When she’s not performing, Ms Labucci works on Facebook live show, Lance TV, which was created by a Ballarat drag king due to the limited platforms available for drag artists to share their art.
“(Lance TV) is all about regional artists supporting regional artists, and I think that's fantastic,” she said.
Ms Labucci hopes to see drag grow within Ballarat, which currently has only six drag artists.