Midsumma Festival highlights: celebrating diversity in Melbourne

A selection of six of the best events from a thoroughly stellar line-up, happening at Midsumma Festival between 19 April and 5 May.

Since 1988, venues across the city have come alive to Midsumma Festival, a joyous celebration of LGBTIQA+ culture including comedy, talks, music and cabaret. Supported by Creative Victoria, the festival attracts more than 15,000 people annually.

Here are six standouts from this year’s program. Remember to book. Also, save the date for the annual Midsumma Pride March on Sunday 23 May.

#Really?! with Mel & Peppy

23 April, 30 April, 2 May
Vau d’vile
62-70 Johnston St, Fitzroy

We can almost guarantee you’ve never seen a talk show like this. Packed with cheeky laughs and piano-accompanied songs (some inspired by the pandemic), this version is anchored by up-and-coming cabaret duo Melissa David and Peppy Smears, a self-described bearded drag provocateur, cabaret queen and creature of the night. Every performance features a different guest, and no two shows are the same.


22 to 26 April
The Toff In Town
252 Swanston St, Melbourne

With an MC and a rousing live choir, this queer celebration weaves together ground-breaking circus, burlesque, sideshow and cabaret acts. It’s a night out that promises to have “kings, kweens and those in-betweens feeling born again.”

Scoundrels: A Boylesque musical

29 April, 30 April, 1 May
Chapel Off Chapel
12 Little Chapel St, Prahran

Broadway musicals get the burlesque treatment at this show featuring some of the sauciest songs of the 20th Century. Tap your foot along as the cast brings you slinky versions of Cabaret’s 'Mein Herr', Chicago’s 'Cell Block Tango', Kiss Me Kate’s 'Too Darn Hot' and Damn Yankees’ 'Whatever Lola Wants'. You’ll be in for a glorious mash up of old-world burlesque, musical theatre and clever comedy with a few sequins thrown in for good measure.

Rainbow Family Storytime

1 May
Newport Community Hub
11-13 Mason St, Newport

Free event

Celebrating all families is the name of the game here, with drag performers Rex Spandex and Walter Melon hosting a story time sharing their favourite 'rainbow' books, singing songs and spreading the message of embracing who you are. All families welcome.


24 and 25 April
La Mama Courthouse
349 Drummond St, Carlton

Queer classical music gets a look-in at this performance, where LGBTIQ+ composers bring the disco ball to the concert hall via a double belled bass trombone, electronics, a harpsichord and a baroque quartet.

Intersections of Discrimination

22 April
Free digital event

"I can't separate my queerness from my blackness, and it is something I'm really proud of,” says writer, occupational therapist and food truck owner Yamiko Marama, an Australian woman of African heritage.

At this free online event, Yamiko will be joined by non-binary writer and transgender rights activist Nevo Zisin, and Krishna Istha, a trans/queer writer and comedian. They share their experiences, joys, concerns and injustices about the crossover of gender, race and sexual orientation.

Find out more

Book your tickets online at the Midsumma Festival website.