Time Out Melbourne

This event has finished

Midsumma brings a ray of sunshine to Melbourne’s dreary months with the inaugural Midwinta Gala Ball and mini festival

During the summer months, Melbourne’s queer dance card is pretty full with events and festivals, but once winter hits, you're usually all dressed up with nowhere to go. The Midsumma festival board has decided to change that and are presenting the first Mindwinta mini festival.

“Midwinta has been something the board has been discussing for seven years,” says Midsumma chair, Aaron Hockly. “The idea was to create a couple of events in winter. Last year we had a number of artists say they weren’t getting enough people to their events during Midsumma, partly because there are so many events then. So the long-term aim is to move part of the festival to winter, and this is the first stage.”

The main centrepiece is the Gala Ball, a rather lavish and fabulous night at the Grand Hyatt’s opulently kitsch Savoy Ballroom, and it promises to be quite a night.

“We have three tenets,” explains Kate Wickett, chair of the Midwinta sub-committee. “One: to raise awareness of the Midsumma Festival to those who wouldn’t normally attend; two: to have fun in winter and fill that void in the calendar; and three: most importantly, to raise funds and promote our patron program.”

By its nature, the Ball is targeting straight supporters, sponsors and allies as well as a slighter older queer demographic, to show that being gay isn’t just about dance parties and pretty boys and girls. It’s strictly black tie, and a great opportunity to frock or suit up.

And there’s certainly no shortage of attractions, as Wickett and fellow board member Simon Mallia count the ways. Starting with pre-dinner drinks and a brass quartet, the Ball will be hosted by actor and producer Spencer McLaren, and will open with a performance from the Real Hot Bitches '80s dance troupe. The main attraction will be performances from Indigenous soprano Deborah Cheetham, accompanied by her partner, pianist Toni Lalich – “a fortuitous coup, given her recent Queen’s Birthday Officer of the Order of Australia honour”, says Wickett. There’ll also be guest speakers, and a fashion parade coordinated by milliner Kerrie Stanley and stylist Mathieu Salem.

“Tickets are $150, which may not be that affordable for some people,” says Mallia, “but that includes a three-course meal, a five-hour drinks package, and all the entertainment.” There’s also a red carpet arrival, and live auction hosted by Luke Gallagher and Dolly Diamond with big ticket items ranging from alcohol packages to artwork and weekends away. And afterwards, DJ Kista will get the glamour crowd on their feet and dancing before they head off to the after-party down the road at Ms Collins. Of course, everyone involved is donating their time.

Top five Midwinta satellite events

While the Gala Ball is the centrepiece, there are a number of other events included under the Midwinta umbrella. Here are five of them...

Team Melbourne Midwinta Mixer
For those sporty queers, this special event brings together a whole lot of LGBTIQ sporting groups and teams. Meet, mix, mingle, and get involved.

Artists and full-time illustrator Rat Simpson battles with the questions, what is work, what is art, and what’s the difference? This exhibition explores how they collide – and how they complement each other.

Pride March Bake Off
Pride March and Midsumma have merged, but this annual fundraising baking competition is an important event on the calendar. The entries will be auctioned off later in the afternoon.

When This You See Remember Me
Political activist and artist David McDiarmid’s new exhibition charting the history of gay culture and HIV/AIDS from the '70s to the '90s is on at the Ian Potter Centre, but this is a chance for a special after-hours viewing. Don’t miss it.

TJ Bateson, a former Midsumma Visual Arts program curator, has Stage IV Mantle Cell Lymphoma, and all of the artworks in this exhibition, whether they be paint, fabric or canvas, were created while he was medicated during treatment. It’s also a fundraiser for the Peter Mac Foundation.

Get the Time Out weekend planner. Straight to your inbox, every Thursday.

By Tim Hunter   |   Photos by Graham Denholm

Midwinta Gala Ball details

Savoy Ballroom
123 Collins St, Melbourne 3000

Telephone 03 9657 1234

Price $150.00

Date Fri 15 Aug 2014

Open 6.30pm till late

Grand Hyatt Melbourne map

Report a problem with this page

Restaurants and bars nearby

Il Solito Posto

52m - No ballin' on tax money! Il Solito Posto does good classic Italian.

Stoke Bar and Kitchen

74m - Feel like Stokehouse City ’s modern fine dining fare but need to stay on...

Stokehouse City

82m - It may have been the Stokehouse that perished in January's freak fire, but...

More restaurants and bars nearby

Other venues nearby

Cose Ipanema

34m - High-end designer retailer stocking the likes of Comme des Garcons and John...

Paul Smith

39m - The ever impressive Paul Smith has set himself up in the heart of...

The Mingary

55m - This non-denominational space, adjoined to St Michael’s Church on...

Spice Market

70m - If you ever need to impress an out of town friend, a colleague or a...

More venues nearby

Readers' comments, reviews, hints and pictures

Community guidelines

blog comments powered by Disqus

Get the Time Out weekend planner. Straight to your inbox, every Thursday.
Read more