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What is WorldPride?

WorldPride is an annual event that promotes LGBTQ+ inclusion, awareness and issues on a global scale via parades, festivals, conferences and more.

After debuting in Rome in 2000, the event has since been held in Jerusalem, Israel (2006), London, United Kingdom (2012), Toronto, Canada (2014), Madrid, Spain (2017), New York City, United States (2019) and Copenhagen, Denmark and Malmö, Sweden (2021).

The host cities are determined by the members of InterPride, the International Association of Pride Coordinators.

What is Sydney Mardi Gras?

Attended by hundreds of thousands of people from Australia and overseas, the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras – simply known as Sydney Mardi Gras – is one of the largest festivals in the world and the largest Pride event in Oceania.

The annual festivities include events such as Mardi Gras Film Festival, Sydney Mardi Gras Parade and Party and Fair Day.

Following their submission to host WorldPride 2023, Sydney Mardi Gras won over territories such as Montreal, Canada and Houston, Texas. It will mark the first time WorldPride has been held in the Southern Hemisphere or Asia Pacific.

Essentially, Sydney WorldPride is mega Mardi Gras. If you’ve never been to Mardi Gras, 2023 is the year.

When and where is it?

Sydney WorldPride takes place from 17 February to 5 March (17 days!) and will be hosted in the Southern Hemisphere.

What is the theme?

The theme for Sydney WorldPride is ‘GATHER. DREAM. AMPLIFY,’ which – according to the official website – is to acknowledge the “traditional custodians of Australia, the oldest surviving culture on the planet” while inviting attendees to “work together to create change and long-lasting legacy for all our communities.”

In their official statement, Sydney WorldPride also said the event aims to “honour our elders and communities, acknowledge our connections and empower each other to celebrate in new ways”.

Speaking with GAY TIMES, Kate Wickett – CEO of Sydney WorldPride and the first woman to hold the position – described the event as a “party with purpose”. “And so, yes, we celebrate, but we unite, and we’re also going to be advocating and discussing some pretty difficult issues and challenges and I don’t think those two things are mutually exclusive,” she explained.

Who is performing?

Every year, Mardi Gras keep their headliners under wraps until the last minute. Sydney WorldPride have already announced some headliners, with more rumoured to be announced in November.

Kylie Minogue will headline the official WorldPride opening concert. “For the first time ever, WorldPride is coming to the Southern Hemisphere,” Kylie said of the occasion. “YES! I’m so excited to announce that I will be performing at the opening concert in Sydney on 24 February, 2023 at The Domain. Can’t wait to see you there!”

Kate celebrated the ‘beloved musician, rainbow icon and highest-selling Australian-born solo artist of all time’, saying WorldPride is “honoured and INCREDIBLY excited to have Kylie again stand with our community”.

Kylie will be joined by Charli XCX and Jessica Mauboy, while Kelly Rowland has been confirmed to headline DJ Dan Slater’s open-air dance event Domain Dance Party.

MUNA, G Flip, Peach PRC, Alter Boy, BVT and Vetta Borne are also among the first closing ceremony headliners announced by Sydney WorldPride.

Casey Donovan and Courtney Act will host Live and Proud: Sydney WorldPride Opening Concert, which will be broadcast live on ABC TV.

Kate tells GAY TIMES that a focus of the opening will be to “highlight emerging” artists in Australia and is “utterly thrilled” it will be broadcast live around the nation.

What events will be held?

Sydney has gone all out for WorldPride, with over 300 – we repeat, 300 – free and ticketed events from theatre, visual arts, comedy, food, music, a human rights conference, family events and – of course – parties. As per the Sydney WorldPride Festival Guide, notable events include: Mardi Gras Fair Day; Klub Village; Mardi Gras Parade; Miss First Nation: Supreme Queen; Mardi Gras Laugh Out Proud; Bondi Beach Party; Pride March; and Rainbow Republic.

As well as the parties, the celebration will have a major focus on human rights and equality with Kate saying its three-day-long human rights conference is the “cornerstone event for the festival” and will be an immersive experience including networking events, keynote speeches and interactive workshops. LGBTQ+ people from all over the world will come together to tackle the major issues facing the community through discussing them and developing the actions needed to drive positive change. Victor Madrigal-Borloz, the United Nations Independent Expert on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity, is among the more than 60 local and international speakers already confirmed for the conference.

Another popular event is Ultra Violet, which takes place 3 March and is described as the “premier” event for LGBTQ+ women. Courtney told GAY TIMES: “It’s curated by women, all women performers, but everyone is welcome.” Kate said she is “personally very proud” to have an event with a focus on women taking place at Sydney WorldPride, something she says is “a first for any WorldPride”, adding: “I’ve been to dozens and dozens of Prides around the world and women are always an afterthought, if there’s an event at all.”

First Nations, the people with familial ties to the groups that lived in Australia before British colonisation, will also be spotlighted at Sydney WorldPride. Courtney added: “I know the First Nations rights, events and visibility are hugely important to queer people in Australia and the intersection of queer identity and First Nations identity is something that I know that Sydney WorldPride and so much of the community are so engaged in.” According to Kate, the event has an advisory panel in order to “have a First Nations lens to everything we do,” which runs all the way through to the design – created by a First Nations lesbian in the city.  Events like Blak & Deadly: The First Nations Gala Concert are open to everyone, but are made by and for the First Nations People to ensure that, as Kate says, there is “at least one event that they can see themselves in or represented by.”

How do I get tickets?

For more information, visit

What else do I need to know?

If you’re visiting Sydney, do not delay booking your flights and accommodation as the city books out quickly during Mardi Gras. Sydney Airport is well serviced by international airlines and Qantas has an official WorldPride Flight from LAX. All international visitors to Australia need to apply for a VISA – in most cases, it’s free and there’s instant approval online. (Visit here.) As for COVID, you don’t need to be vaccinated to visit Australia and there’s no testing requirement.

Explore the full Sydney WorldPride Festival Guide and plan YOUR WorldPride at

You can learn more about the highly-anticipated event by reading GAY TIMES’ interview with Kate Wickett and Courtney Act here.