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Summer Camp Festival

  • Music, Music festivals
Summer Camp Sydney 2023 line-up
Photograph: Supplied/Summer Camp (shoddy edit by Alannah Le Cross)

Time Out says

This massive music festival with a queer carnival twist is back with Trixie Mattel, Rebecca Black, Brooke Candy and loads more

Get ready to slip, slop, slayyyyy. Summer Camp Festival returns to Sydney and Melbourne this December off the back of an epic launch in 2022. This all-inclusive day-to-night music festival for LGBTQIA+ folks and their friends features a carnival of live music, DJs, drag queens, dancers and rainbow vibes. Think of it like a playground for adults, where everyone is welcome regardless of pronouns or star sign.

This year’s line-up is coming in hot, with a bunch more acts joining the previously announced headliners Jessie Ware (the pop disco queen and loyal queer ally returns to Australia after a decade-long absence) and a groovy DJ set from drag icon Trixie Mattel, who brings her Solid Pink Disco experience to Australia exclusively for Summer Camp.

Remember Rebecca Black? For better or worse, her viral 2011 hit ‘Friday’ reached more than 150 million people worldwide. But it has been the last few years that Black has solidified her stamp on pop culture, also coming into herself and coming out as queer in 2020, and now she’s ready to let it rip at Summer Camp with her celebrated debut album Let Her Burn, which dropped earlier this year.

It just gets bigger from there – with the raunchy, grungy showmanship of underground American rapper and songwriter Brooke Candy; producer and DJ Kito returning home after working with the likes of Beyoncé and Marina; Berlin club DJ Meg10; Afrofuturistic NYC DJ duo The Illustrious Blacks; British singer-songwriter and pop-electro powerhouse Tom Aspaul (his songwriting credits include for Kylie Minogue, Snakehips, Celeste and Becky Hill) and 100 more local performers across three stages in each city. Melbourne will also score an exclusive appearance from ‘90s dance diva Ultra Nate.

Pop icon and ‘Heaven is a Place on Earth’ singer Belinda Carlisle was previously announced as an exclusive Sydney headliner, however she has since had to withdraw from the festival, along with postponing the dates for her Australian Decades tour to 2024. 

The stacked pack of fabulous local performers, DJs and all-around queer icons who are appearing includes Stereogamous, Ballroom Australia, Sexy Galexy, Jackie Daniels, Dyan Tai, Diva Cups, Rosie Rivette, Charlie Villas, Atomic Blond & Dutch Kiss, Lady Fur, the Chic Coach, Unicorns and load more sparkly unicorns. 

Summer Camp was founded by Heaps Gay creator Kat Dopper along with Grant Gillies and David Gillett (creators of Red Mgmt and former Sydney Mardi Gras marketing and international talent manager). It is “your place to call homo this summer”.

On site, the Summer Camp Sports Arena will host international pop stars and party tunes for the true sport that unites us all – dance, while the BEAT stage will bring together some of the finest sound selectors from house, disco, techno and anthems for eight hours of power; and Sydney’s Summer Camp cuties can pash on in “Club Love”, the cheesiest singalong and ultimate party inside an inflatable pink camouflage church. 

Mark your calendars, this big gay ol’ time hits Naarm/Melbourne on Saturday, December 2, at St Kilda Marina and Eora/Sydney on Sunday, December 3. Summer Camp Sydney is taking over Wentworth Park Sports Centre in Ultimo after the loss of Centennial Park due to flooding in 2022. This complex has a sports field, carpark, clubhouse, and soon, an array of queens and colour. 

Kat Dopper said in a statement: “We’re excited to work closely with Wentworth Recreation Park owners in Ultimo which has the potential to be an incredible new festival and large-scale event site for our industry with lots of existing infrastructure and adverse weather options which we all so desperately need”.

Looks like we don’t need to hold out for Sydney Mardi Gras for a massive queer celebration beyond our wildest dreams! Tickets are on sale now with Second Release starting at $136.10. Bend and snap yours up over on Moshtix.


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Alannah Le Cross
Written by
Alannah Le Cross


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