• Dua Lipa has been announced as a headliner for the 2020 Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras festival. (WireImage)
There's a new theme, epic performers, plus plenty of exciting events planned for LGBTIQ+ Australians of all ages.
Samuel Leighton-Dore

13 Nov 2019 - 3:33 PM  UPDATED 29 Nov 2019 - 11:05 AM

With Christmas just around the corner, we're now officially approaching Mardi Gras season - so it's time to stockpile our biodegradable glitter and start getting excited for all the treats next year's festival will bring.

So, as the anticipation starts to build, we figured we'd take a look at everything we already know about the 2020 Mardi Gras Festival.

The 2020 Mardi Gras theme is 'What matters'

In a powerful nod to the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras' history of activism and protest, the official theme for next year's festival is WHAT MATTERS - encouraging party-goers to reflect on and examine not only how far members of the Australian LGBTIQ+ community have come, but how much further we have to go. 

It's all about amplifying the voices of our community's most marginalised factions, says Mardi Gras Arts Interim CEO Grant Lowe, while celebrating the unsung heroes who continue to lift us up.

“This year we celebrate those at the forefront of the fight for equality. From ground-breaking queer artists to trailblazing thought leaders, Mardi Gras 2020 is an opportunity to visit the next destinations on our journey of diversity, inclusion and social justice.”

Lowe added: “With Sydney named as the host city for WorldPride 2023, there has never been a more pertinent time to celebrate LBGTQI+ culture and uplift every shade of the rainbow.

The lineup of entertainment is going to be epic

With a new theme comes a new festival hub, promising an impressive showcase of events, discussions and performances throughout the Mardi Gras festivities.

“We are thrilled to announce the expansion of the Mardi Gras Festival Hub in 2020,” said Mardi Gras Creative Director Kat Dopper.

“A hive of activity throughout the Festival, the Festival Hub will showcase 15 eclectic events including incredible local and international queer performances, inspiring discussions, side-splitting comedy, theatre, music, dance, circus, burlesque and drag all under the roof of Sydney’s Seymour Centre, plus the late-night Festival Club from Thursday to Sunday each week.”

According to festival organisers, Festival Hub highlights include cabaret variety show 'F**k Fabulous', the sassy, genre-defying smash-hit 'Hot Brown Honey', electrifying trans and gender-diverse performance 'Gender Euphoria', the outrageous drag and burlesque infused 'YUMMY UNLEASHED', the return of Koori Gras, and another lineup of thought-provoking panel discussions from from Queer Thinking.

Dua Lipa is headlining the After Party

She's got new rules - and you bet she'll count ‘em!

In a score for festival organisers, pop sensation Dua Lipa has been confirmed to headline the 2020 Mardi Gras After Party - Australia's most treasured (and hugely popular) LGBTIQ+ party.

The UK singer, who is already heading to Sydney later this month to perform at the ARIA awards, shared a video message to Aussie fans, saying she is "so excited" headline the world-famous event.

This year's party promises something different, however, with Sydney's Hordern Pavilion and surrounding venues set to transform into "a brand-new adult play land, bursting with music, light and performance across new fantasy worlds for you to immerse yourself."

There's something for everyone

Whether you're young or old(er), next year's Mardi Gras lineup has something for everyone - with a series of special events tailor-made for families, young people, and older members of the LGBTIQ+ community.

For starters, there's the Minus18 Queer Formal, which is a free event for LGBTIQ+ teens (between the ages of 13 and 19) with a night of live music, dancing, glamour stations, dinner, dessert and more. The event is being produced in collaboration with fantastic Aussie organisation Minus18, which celebrates all identities in an inclusive space.

Then, for older members of the community, there's the LGBTIQ+ Elders Dance Club - a free social event for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, gender diverse, intersex elders and their allies. The evening offers punters the chance to learn some new dances, have some good food, and build new community connections.  According to the event's description, the LGBTQI+ Elders Dance Club "champions the recreational and social rights of rainbow elders, creating a space that is safe and inclusive".

The best part? No dance experience necessary.

For LGBTIQ+ families, there's also the Family Fun Day, which transforms Sydney’s Luna Park into a rainbow wonderland for LGBTQI+ families and friends - with unlimited rides, DJs and surprise performances. 

We can't wait!

As always SBS will be serving up all your Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras updates as the festival of the year moves closer.

Get into the Mardi Gras spirit by watching Country Town Pride: Untold Australia on SBS On Demand.

Why it's time for the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras to change its name
For the trans and gender diverse people who were present in 1978 and marched over the following years, their pride in identity isn't reflected - and never has been - in the same way as Gay and Lesbian Australians.
Kylie Minogue makes surprise appearance at Sydney Mardi Gras
The gay icon didn't disappoint - posing for photographs with fans following a Kylie tribute float.
Some of the best looks ahead of the Sydney Mardi Gras parade
We trawled through social media to bring you some of the most fabulous looks ahead of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras parade.
Why bisexual visibility in Sydney Mardi Gras is so important
I never knew how much I needed that space until it was given to me.