Co-Founder Ivan Skaines is looking forward to showcasing the very best of the Newcastle Hunter region and its queer community.
“Last year’s festival was so successful and really brought the community together so we’re wanting to continue the festival as an annual celebration for the queer community and wider, with our allies as well.”
“Newcastle had some of the highest votes in the country during the same-sex marriage plebiscite so that’s certainly a cause for celebration. There wasn’t very much happening in Newcastle, in terms of events, at that time, and particularly, no community celebration, so we started pride last year for that reason.”
Ivan noted that the aim of Newcastle Pride Festival is to “build community and attract people to the area”.
“If people are coming for the weekend, there’s lots to see and do around the area apart from the festival. They can visit the art gallery, they can visit the museum and the iconic ANZAC walk along the cliff face.”
Aside from enjoying the natural beauty of the Newcastle Hunter region, throughout the weekend, the festival is jam-packed with exciting activities for people of all ages. One of the most highly-anticipated events of the weekend is the festival’s Fair Day. This free, family-friendly event boasts a variety of incredible queer performers as well as community and retail stalls, food vendors and art installations.
Brand new to the festival this year and kicking off Newcastle Pride as the official launch event is the much anticipated 'Twisted Cabaret' at the famous Newcastle City Hall. Guests are invited to enjoy dinner and an evening of 'campery', featuring drag, burlesque, jazz and even circus performers!
Hosting a large-scale festival, with a number of events like the 'Twisted Cabaret', can become expensive for a community organisation like Newcastle Pride, but with big name businesses like ANZ and Australia Post supporting the festival, Newcastle Pride has been able to harness this support to grow bigger and better than ever.
“We’re thankful for the support we’ve got from other organisations. First of all, it encourages other companies to be involved because we’re seen to be reliable, we deliver the event. It costs a lot to stage a festival. We’ve got things like venue hire and other facilities which do cost a lot so that sponsorship helps with the sustainability of holding the festival.
“Those organisations have queer people working with them and they want to build their relationship with the queer community as well.”
Ivan is proud of his committee of volunteers who dedicate a great deal of time to making sure the Newcastle Pride Festival runs smoothly.
“We rely heavily on volunteer contribution.They’re a way of building links with our community too, because people like to get involved and volunteering is one way they can get involved. They can also become financial members of Newcastle Pride as well and that’s a very tangible way of people supporting the festival.”
While still in its early days, Ivan and the rest of the Newcastle Pride Festival team have big dreams for its future.
“We intend to keep the festival sustainable, grow it over time. We’re also looking to do other things within the community in addition to the festival so we’re wanting to use the festival as a lever for work with people who need support within our community.”