Culture / People

Your guide to Mardi Gras 2024: events, parties, and the parade

sydney mardi gras 2024

There's more than one way to celebrate Mardi Gras. Off the back of last year's Sydney WorldPride, organisers are adamant on maintaining a similar scale and range of events to enjoy what's affectionately known as 'queer Christmas'. So what's on the cards for Mardi Gras in 2024?

As always, at the centre of festivities is the Mardi Gras parade. However, it's not the only way to surround yourself with community. Naturally, there will be a host of parties to attend – after all, Sydney's nightlife would be in a sorry state without the host of queer organisers keeping it alive. While Fair Day has been cancelled due to an asbestos scare, there will be panels and a range of food and beverage activations too. With over 100 events planned, here's a selection to get involved with this Mardi Gras.


What is Mardi Gras and why is it celebrated?

While Mardi Gras has blossomed into a month of pride in Australia, where the LGBTIQA+ community can celebrate love, community and queerness without shame or fear, it's important to acknowledge that the festivities first began as a riot.

After a litany of global anti-LGBTQIA+ attacks from right wing moralists, American activists called for an International Day of Gay Solidarity on June 24, 1978. Australian activists heeded the call, and mobilised to orchestrate a day of marches and in the evening police met the protesters with violence. As David Abello, a 78er, told RUSSH, "After that everything did change: the relationship between the police was exposed to the rest of the community".

In the months following, more protests and arrests continued, until April 1979, when the Parliament of New South Wales repealed the NSW Summary Offences Act legislation that had allowed the original arrests to be made. It was a huge win for civil rights in Australia, and every year since the Mardi Gras celebrations have only increased.


What date is Sydney Mardi Gras in 2024?

In 2024, the 46th Sydney Mardi Gras celebrations will kick off on Friday, February 16 and continue through to Sunday, March 2.


Festival First Light

At dawn on February 16, Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras will begin in Taylor Square with a Welcome to Country and Smoking Ceremony led by Aunty Nadeena Dixon and followed by a performance from the Buuja Buuja-Butterfly Dance Group. You can also attend a Welcome to Country led by a queer First Nations elder at Bondi Beach, Victoria Park, Sydney Town Hall and Hordern Pavillion.



As for the parade, it will take place from 6pm on Saturday, March 2, beginning at Hyde Park and finishing at Moore Park around 11pm. Every year, the parade walks to the beat of a theme, and in 2024 it will be Our Future – a prompt that calls on participants to imagine a bold future and bring it into fruition.



Bondi Beach Party: Sophie Ellis Bextor will headline this event on February 24.  Slayyyter, DJs Jay Jay Revlon, Lagoon Femshaymer, and Corey Craig along with Tyoow, Mama de Leche, and Beth Yen are also due to perform.

Hot Trans Summer: Curated for trans and gender diverse people, by trans and gender diverse people, and featuring an all trans and gender diverse lineup – set sail to to Glass Island on February 22. With music from Neesha Alexander, Victoria Anthony, Yvngcweed, and performances by Bluberry Bakla, Fetu Taku, and Willow Ick, this is one not to miss.

Ultra Violet: Sveta Gilerman and Jess Hill have curated a lineup designed by and for LGBTQIA+ women taking place at the National Art School on February 17. Headlined by MAY-A and featuring Estée Louder, DJ Sveta, Gemma, Kinky D, BVT, Jacqui Cunningham, Mirasia, and Kilimi.

Xaddy’s Tardi Gradi Big Boat Party: Xaddy's Doorlist will host his annual (and sold out) boat party on February 17. Featuring artists like Ketia, Kilimi B2b Mirasia, Stev Zar, Haus of Ralph, Lynn, House of Silky and Habibitch.

Show Us Ya TipsNo phones, no shame, clothing optional. Angels Only presents Show Us Ya Tips with routines by professionals and amateurs, performing for tips. Bringing the queer, sex worker and local communities together at the Abercrombie February 29 to raise money for SWOP.

Mince OpenAir: House of Mince is linking up with the Ace Hotel for a sold out laneway dance on Sunday, March 3, featuring COZi, Boris, Kevin Aviance, MikeQ and Mince Angels.

Heaps GayHeaps Gay returns to Manning Bar for its Mardi Gras party on March 2.

Pavlovabar Mardi Gras Closing Party: Get your ass to Kinselas from 10pm, Sunday, March 3 and dance to Bashkka, Bertie, Boris, Goat Spokesperson, and Mykki Blanco.

Heaps Gay x GiRLTHING: Head to the Abercrombie for post Fair Day festivities. From 4pm until 2am.

Unknown Pleasures: There are still tickets left to House of Mince's Mardi Gras party on March 2 at UTS. Featuring Baschoe, Deepa, Gillielove, Deep Faith, House of Juicy Sle, and more.

Mardi Gras Parties (March 2)

  • Hordern Pavilion: Contemporary, Chicago and Vocal House. (Music by Adam Lambert, Ultra Naté, ONYX, Patrick Mason, DJ Monki, and Mark Alsop).
  • The Forecourt: Vocal House, Pop and Nu-Disco. (Music by CeCe Peniston, Keiynan Lonsdale, Miss Katalyna, Shigeki, Bobby Blanco, SGT Slick, and Ebstar.)
  • Liberty Hall: Techno, Tech-House, World Music and Electronica. (Music by DJ Naian, Lisa May, AK Sports, Jennifer Loveless, Marsh Long and Chela.)
  • Watson’s: Classic Divas, Disco and Retro Hits. (Music by Diva Cups, Mama de Leche, Dyan Tai, DJ Anvi, Sexy Galexy). 
  • Big Top: 90s and 00s club classics. (Music by DADSMAYO, Charlie Villas, Mary Kiani, Alan Thompson, and Kate Monroe and GI Jode).
  • Mary’s EQ & The Entertainment Quarter: Food trucks, bars and chill zones.



Oxtravaganza: Walk through Darlinghurst to find a two-week celebration of Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras in the bars, restaurants, galleries and retail stores across the area. Running from the 16 February, Oxtravaganza emulates a fringe festival and is packed with performances every night of the week. Expect drag shows, cabaret, book readings, disco nights, art exhibitions, life drawing classes, design markets, and more.

Kid Kyoto will be getting into the Mardi Gras spirit with themed cocktails, a social competition, and affirmation alley and tote bags.



W Sydney will host a Creative Conversation panel with LGBTQIA+ artists Samuel Leighton-Dore and Keiynan Lonsdale on February 28 at 7–9pm. All proceeds from ticket sales will be donated to Minus 18 charity.


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Photo by Sander Dalhuisen on Unsplash