As the title suggests, this is a women-only event. Transgender, gender-diverse or non-binary folk are welcome too. Come as you are, deck yourself out in 1920s flapper style, or button up your best 'straight out of the paddock' look.
There'll be live music, bush line dancing, special guest performers and plenty to drink at the Broke Flap Mountain Bar.
Here, we have a chat with ChillOut Committee Member Meredith Johnson about what punters can expect at this year's Women's Dance event.
Tell us a bit about the ChillOut Women’s Dance.
The Flappers dance has traditionally been an annual event for women to get together in spring and celebrate the end of winter and the coming together of like-minded women. COVID put an end to it last year as we were all still trying to work out how we work with the new world we live in. This year we are hoping to run the dance – it is pushed out to October because of shutdown, and we have a back-up date in November. We are putting on a Bush Dance this year as they are a great way to meet new friends and have fun. We usually have one on the ChillOut weekend but it is dominated by men, so we thought it would be fun to have one for women.
And how about a bit about ChillOut Festival in general, for those unfamiliar?
ChillOut Festival has been running for 25 years now – it’s the 25-year anniversary in 2022. We are going big with our plans – hoping to get some big name supporters. It runs over the long weekend in March and has many different activities and events. These festival committee events include the Street Parade on the Sunday followed by the Carnival where there are a couple of stages with performers all day, a dog show, stall holders, food vans, and more. We also put on major dances Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights. There are many other umbrella events, so you can usually find something you want to do – often more than one at the same time!
There are going to be a few guest performers! Who are they?
MC Sexy Galexy. Drag King Freddie Merkin, DJ Casio and DJ Sugar Sphinx, the band Hussy Hicks and a bush dance string trio and caller, all female all fabulous! Come dance like you’ve gone bush!
What are you looking forward to about this year’s event?
Just having an opportunity to meet old and new friends in a safe communal environment. Hopefully by then we will have a better way to work with COVID.
What’s your role in putting it all together?
I am on the Committee Of Management for the ChillOut Festival. We all take part in activities, I chose the women’s dance because we have the opportunity to get the community together and start to celebrate 'Our Time To Shine'. That is our theme for the festival and we are incorporating it into everything we do until then. I have worked with Em Ireland, our Festival Director, and several other committee members (all women). In the next few weeks prior, it will be a case of making sure the acts are all in line, organising drinks, ice, and decorations for the town hall. It's going to be busy, especially when you have a paid job to do as well but it’s a great feeling being part of the group.
What is your favourite thing about being a part of it?
I just feel so privileged to be part of the organisation for the 25-year celebration. We are a great group of people who have a single aim – to create a party to end all parties. There is normal committee issues but we also have great fun working on our theme, supporting our Festival Director and watching our festival grow. I love that we are trying to put on the deferred acts from the festival in March. They were deferred because of lockdowns, so we hope they can go ahead now. It's great knowing that we are helping some acts to get out and perform where they haven’t for a while.
Why do you think people love to dress up for something like this?
Oh, I am sure there will be many people who will be dressed to the nines. There will be 1920 flappers as well as western cowgirls – or a combination of the two. It is a fun night, and I am sure people will take the opportunity to dress up – or not – whatever makes them happy. Why do they do it? Well it’s fun, it’s an opportunity to wear something you don’t normally wear and be someone different.
And why do you think events like the ChillOut Women’s Dance are important?
The women’s dance gives a safe place for women to get out and celebrate together. It is important for ChillOut Festival as an organisation to support marginalised sectors of our community. We try and target different groups in our community and develop events that will support them and give them the opportunity to get together with their 'tribe'. If you have any ideas for your marginal sector, let us know.
What do you do in your day-to-day life?I work in retail at Lovisa, I’ve ranged from a casual all the way up to assistant manager, but now I’m settled part-time. Besides that, I’m always planning performances for the future, and also supporting my fellow performers. And eating. Ooft!Read more: