A landmark program of pride events and projects will return to Victoria this summer as part of a state-wide celebration of LGBTQIA+ communities.

Minister for Equality, Harriet Shing, today announced the annual event, Victoria’s Pride, will be held across the state for the next four years to support and celebrate our rainbow communities. The annual event will now be known as  Victoria’s Pride (previously Melbourne Pride).

“Victoria’s Pride will be a welcoming and inclusive celebration of LGBTIQ+ communities across the state,” said Harriet Shing.  It will be a chance for all Victorians to show visible love and support and for our community to celebrate who we are.”

Victoria’s Pride will kick off in December with a series of regional activities, culminating in a one-day street party in Melbourne’s iconic Gertrude and Smith Street precinct on Sunday, 12 February, 2023.

Asked if the expanded festival might impact on Chillout, director Emma Ireland said she was not in any way concerned. “Chillout has always come at the end of two very long pride celebratory months in Melbourne and interstate,” she said. “Thus everyone will be heading to Daylesford and Hepburn and it’s beautiful surrounds to ‘chillout’. See you next March 9-13th.”

Midsumma will again deliver Victoria’s Pride in partnership with the Victorian Government, with the program culminating on the final day of the Midsumma Festival in 2023.

Almost 30,000 people participated in 22 regional activities last summer, with events including a pop-up festival in Bendigo, art exhibitions, theatre shows and a movie screening.

Hepburn CEO, Bradley Thomas, welcomed the funding directed to regional Victoria. “We hope this event, and its expansion into regional Victoria, will complement our Shire’s signature pride event in March each year, ChillOut,” he said. Hepburn Shire Council has been a proud supporter of the ChillOut Festival for many years and has seen the festival grow into the longest running regional pride festival in our country.  Our LGBTIQ+ community is a major contributor to what makes our Shire unique, vibrant and a great place to live, work and visit.”

To ensure state-wide representation of Victoria’s Pride, support is available to directly encourage and facilitate regional activities either in the lead-up to or on the day. A Regional Activation Program run by Midsumma, will provide funding of up to $15k per project to support arts and culture projects which showcase regionally based LGBTIQ+ artists and highlight regional LGBTIQ+ voices and stories.

Proposals for a wide range of regional projects including but not limited to commissions/artworks, documented community stories, sharing of historical collections or exhibitions are encouraged.

To apply for the Regional Activation Program, or to find out who can apply and the objectives of the program, visit midsumma.org.au/regional-activation.

Applications are open until Monday 26 September at 5pm.