The annual Midsumma Festival is just around the corner, taking over Melbourne with an explosion of LGBTQIA+ pride and an impressive line–up of extraordinary artists performing live music to both admire and inspire.
“If there is one place in popular media where LGBTQIA+ people have increasing influence it’s the music industry,“ says Midsumma Program Manager Daniel Santangeli. “Queer social power has, for many years, manifested through the music at Midsumma Festival. From opera to indie to classical – Midsumma Festival is profiling new voices and unique sounds this summer.”
Join electronic duo HABITS and darkwave solo sensation V at Arts House in a music event that blurs the edges of party, performance, gender and body – including a guest appearance from Italian DJ and star of Motus’ MDLSX, Silvia Calderoni. This event is about profiling and celebrating musicians who are trans, gender diverse and intersex. HABITS have become a staple of Melbourne’s queer club and electronic music scene, with vocals that range from ethereal to growling, layered over dense instrumentals. Combined with their iconic matching outfits and theatrical delivery, they present a show in the true sense of the word. V is a sharp and politically engaged, ex Berlin-based singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist who plays a hypnotising, reverb-drenched explosion of darkwave and synthwave influenced by goth and punk. Arts House, North Melbourne, 2 Feb
In a Midsumma Festival exclusive, Melbourne vocalist and electronic percussionist Simona Castricum performs a poignant collection of songs in Panoptican. Bringing her signature percussive pop and provocative typography to life, Simona explores the fear of missing out, the contradictions of intimacy and self-reflection against the burdens of scrolling, surveillance and isolation. Arts House, North Melbourne, 31st Jan
Hailed as “one to watch” by The Guardian this year, South Africa’s Nakhane (pictured above) is on the fast-track to glam-pop stardom. With emotive, fragile vocals reminiscent of Perfume Genius, and a charismatic presence that channels Grace Jones via Prince, the actor, musician and queer rights advocate brings his sultry synth-pop to Midsumma as part of Melbourne Museum’s popular and affordable Nocturnal series. Melbourne Museum. 1st Feb
Showcasing some of Melbourne’s best and diverse local talent, Goddess Grooves will charm audiences with an evening of soul, jazz, blues, pop and rock as Michelle Parsons, Jo Jo Smith, Michelle Chandler, Ruth Katerelos, Monique Kenny and Kaliopi Stavropoulos take the stage for one night only. Expect original tunes and covers in a night of laughter and impromptu harmonies. Wesley Anne, Northcote 1st Feb
Homophonic! will be a proud classical celebration of Sapphic symphonists by today’s queer composers. Celebrate the legacy of queer composers such as Tchaikovsky, Poulenc, Copland, Cage and other 20th and 21st century queer composers. Performed by 3 Shades Black and compered by artistic director Miranda Hill. La Mama Courthouse, Carlton, 31st Jan – 2nd Feb
Forest Collective is proud to present the world-premiere season of a new ballet-opera based on the ancient Greek myth, Orpheus, by artistic director Evan Lawson. This is an exhilarating and electrifying retelling of the world-famous myth which explores the tragic tale of his love affair with Eurydice, but also his untold gay relationship with fellow aeronaut, Calais, in a performance that is sure to move. Abbotsford Convent, Sacred Heart Auditorium, Abbotsford, 31st Jan – 3rd Feb
An evening of music for three keyboards with mesmerizing projected imagery, Preludes and Nocturnes explores unfolding ideas in a post-minimalist sound world. Featuring hypnotic music composed by PJNack, with instrumental pieces from William Elm and Gareth Wiecko, the performance reflects on being alone and being together in a constantly changing world. Hare Hole (Hares & Hyenas), Fitzroy, 6th – 8th Feb
In Michael & The Mascs: My Vanity Project, Michael returns to Midsumma with a band led by Joshua James Webb for a musical feast featuring the classics of Peggy Lee, Patsy Cline, Connie Francis, Ann-Margret and The Shangri-Las. With kitsch tunes, funky beats and the occasional sassy story, the gig offers up songs of a gentler time with an occasional bump in the road to be expected. Gasworks Arts Park Studio Theatre, Albert Park, 6th – 9th Feb
Midsumma Festival is Victoria’s premier LGBTQIA+ cultural festival, made for and by communities who live with shared experiences around diverse gender and sexuality.