Australia’s largest regional celebration of queer country pride, the ChillOut Festival, returns to Daylesford next month, and invites everyone to dance, prance, chill and shake a tail feather throughout five days of fabulous festivity.
Featuring music, theatre, circus, dance, pool parties, sporty pursuits, a children’s program and stellar line-up of performers, the first ChillOut Festival was held in 1997 and has since had a long history of presenting a program as diverse as the LGBTI community, together with their extended family of friends and supporters.
The 2019 festival kicks off on March 7, with a sumptuous cocktail party and art auction at the Palais Hepburn to raise funds for ChillOut’s new Raising Rainbows initiative. This is the festival's commitment to fund as many flagpoles and rainbow flags as required by regional schools, community groups and non-government not-for-profit organisations.
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International circus, adult theatre and cabaret performances will take up residence in the festival’s newest venue, The World Famous Beagle Tent, while family-friendly shenanigans from Dandyman and Her Majesty’s Secret Circus will also take place in the unique space.
The Smashing Bumpkins will perform at the Town Hall for an afternoon of toe-tapping fun at the Kids Bush Dance, before taking it to a whole new level for adults later that evening.
Palais Hepburn will be a hotspot of absolute fabulousness, with Yana Alana & The Homo Sapiens, La Cabarisque hosted by Dolly Diamond, the Palais Salon & Bluehouse Show, and a recovery party and lunch for revelers who simply can't get enough of the ChillOut comradery.
The Old Hepburn Hotel will host a variety of events and performers during the festival, including Flanny Friday, a boot scooting night of country rock covers and line dancing lessons. The hotel is also home to the Lite Nite Dance Party, a sound and light extravaganza featuring Ladyhood, and psychotronic visuals provided by a VJ artist.
The festival reaches peak frivolity on Sunday of the long weekend, when the much-loved ChillOut Parade takes over Vincent Street for a magical carnival parade. This is immediately followed by the ChillOut Carnival, a fun day for all, jam-packed with music, a youth stage programmed by FReeZA, the artistry of Women’s Circus, a dog show emceed by festival ambassador Farmer Dave, workshops, stalls, country games and a bucking bronco.
The carnival’s massive musical line-up includes other festival ambassador Beccy Cole with her Sisters Of Twang, Killer Queen, The Potbelleez, Yana Alana, Dolly Diamond, The Hussy Hicks, and Rhiannon.
Other events (there are more than 50 on the program) that will be enjoyed during this year's ChillOut Festival include the Peacock Pool Party, Wendy Stapleton’s Swinging Sixties Show, a roller derby, a golf competition, the Gay and Pray church service, and high tea at Bellinzona.
A free shuttle bus will help people travel to events within Daylesford, but the ChillOut spirit does extend beyond the town. A small French style country fair will be held in nearby Musk, and the Nomads Outdoor Group will lead a morning bush walk, which takes in Jackson's Lookout.
ChillOut Festival is on from March 7-11. For details visit chilloutfestival.com.au.