Daylesford’s ChillOut Festival, the largest LGBTQIA+ event in Regional Australia, will start on March 4 but some activities are starting this weekend.

Changes to COVID restrictions announced by Victorian Premier, Dan Andrews, on February 26 were a welcome relief for ChillOut Festival Director, Michelle Bauer. “We’re planning a great event for Daylesford and we’re glad restrictions have been eased. It makes it easier for all of us to enjoy the event and it means we don’t have to police face masks to the same extent.”

Dates for the ChillOut Festival, originally planned as a 10-day event, were shortened to  March 4 to 7 as a result of recent restrictions. “It’s a little last minute, we know, but we’ve shortened our festival to give our community time to look after themselves and their loved ones,” Michelle said in a social media post. “We’ve also done this with our deepest respect to the artists, performers, and producers who will need the time to adapt to these changes.”

Patricia Karvelas

Some events will proceed during the week, however. The “Serving in Silence” exhibition at the Convent will open on Saturday, February 27. Friends of Cornish Hill and Birdlife Australia will host a walk around Cornish Hill on Sunday February 28. A ChillOut stall will be open at the Daylesford Market on February 28 and March 7.

The “Grove of Gratitude” planting will be held on March 3 near Wombat Flat Mineral Springs. “This is a 5-year revegetation project that will be an ongoing celebration of the LGBTQIA+ Community. Thirty trees will be planted this year and plantings will continue each year for the next five years as part of the Festival,” said Michelle.

Another highlight will be “Queerstories”, an LGBTQIA+ storytelling project curated by Maeve Marsden, on March 4.

Patricia Karvelas, prominent ABC radio presenter, current affairs journalist and political correspondent is the Festival Ambassador for 2021.  She will host in-conversation events which promise to be highlights of the festival. On March 6, Patricia will be joined by panelists to consider “How to win the next LGBTQI political battle”. On March 7, Patricia will be joined by leaders in mental health for a timely conversation on “Are We OKAY?”

Mo’ Ju

A Festival favourite, the ChillOut Parade, will be a virtual event this year. Instead of floats and bands, entrants in the parade have submitted videos of themselves marching. The videos have been edited into a parade which will be presented on-line from the Dayelsford Hotel by “Dolly Diamond” and “Frock Hudson”. The parade will be broadcast live on the Chillout Facebook page starting at 10:00 am, Sunday, March 7.

Well known Australian musician, Mo’Ju, will close the Festival with an already sold-out concert on March 7.

A Festival Planner is available with dates, times and booking information for these and other events.


See related stories:

ChillOut 2021- Where the Magic Happens

LGBTI Veterans Silent No More