Photo essay: the Broken Heel Festival

The Broken Heel Festival is a three-day homage of drag, cabaret, music and festivities that celebrates the outback town's iconic place as the spiritual home of 'Priscilla, Queen of the Desert'.

Photographer Jessica Clark headed to Broken Hill to immerse herself in the glitter and chat with the characters who find artistic and self-expression in the festival.

 

Bubbles at the Broken Heel Festival
Bubbles at the Broken Heel Festival
Jessica Clark

Festival-goer Magnus Dean
Festival-goer Magnus Dean
Jessica Clark

Magnus Dean:

“The festival is important to see a part of Australia that I’ve never been to. To be here for the anniversary of the movie and play my tunes - and to dress up and meet people. To dress up in a frock (as you do) and wear a dead bird around my neck.

"It is one of my favourite films, and has been very pivotal to the drag community in Australia. It has given us all 20 years of more artistic acceptability. This is what we do.

“Its just an amazing place to be! I mean, look at me - I am sitting in the middle of the fucking Silverton pub in the middle of the outback Australia, drinking a chandy through a straw!”

A man in drag walks through a building
Jessica Clark

Drag Queen with camel at Broken Heel festival
Jessica Clark

Women at the festival
Jessica Clark

John, from Sydney
John, from Sydney
Jessica Clark

 John, from Sydney:

“I rode through town this time last year on my motorcycle, and this festival just happened to be on - to celebrate a film that has covered all sorts of walks of life represented in it, with many of the different characteristics that we can attribute to life.  

"As soon as I walked in, I thought “THIS IS GREAT” and I immediately booked in for this year!"

Fireworks in Broken Hill
Jessica Clark

 A drag performance
Jessica Clark

Woman at the festival
Jessica Clark

Drag performer at Broken Heel Festival
Jessica Clark

Rainbow Sisterhood
The Rainbow Sisterhood (L-R): Beth (Wollongong), Patty (Parkes), Marie (Wollongong), Margie (Orange)
Jessica Clark

Rainbow Sisterhood:

"We are all sisters, and have come to this festival to have an adventure."

"Make sure I look thin," adds Beth.

A performer at the Broken Hell Festival
Jessica Clark
 

Performer at the Broken Heel Festival
Jessica Clark

Festival dancer
Jessica Clark

Esther LaRovere, Broken Heel Festival Director
Esther LaRovere, Broken Heel Festival Director
Jessica Clark

Festival Director Esther LaRovere:

"The festival is important because it honours a fantastic movie which has meant a lot to a really broad range of people and communities. [It is also] a fantastic opportunity for Broken Hill, as a regional city, to really show its colour, and celebrate its heritage which certainly 'Priscilla' has really become a part of."

Did she have any inspiration for her outfit? 

“Well, I pulled out a pile of about 10 moo-moos and let all my friends grab whatever they wanted, and these were the remainders.”

An outfit at the Broken Heel festival
Jessica Clark

Costumes at the Festival
Jessica Clark

Festival performer
Festival performer Teneille
Jessica Clark

Teneille (singing Jewel):

"My hands are small, I know,

But they're not yours they are my own
But they're not yours they are my own
And I am never broken.”  

Performer at Broken Heel Festival
Jessica Clark

Signs in Broken Heel
Jessica Clark

Beers at the Festival
Jessica Clark

Road trippers
The photographer (far right), with her fellow road trippers to the Festival. (R-L) Julie, Dana, Madeline and Braden.
Jessica Clark

Coming to the festival is a great chance to get away from everyday workplace life, and go on an outback adventure together in the spirit of 'Priscilla'.

There is a rainbow inside of each and every one of us.

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