Sydney Mardi Gras 2020 preview by Jonny Marsh

The most fabulous LGBT celebration in the Southern Hemisphere is about to transform Sydney, Australia in a star-studded whirlwind of sequins, celebrities, and sass. Here’s five reasons to get Sydney Mardi Gras to the top of your bucket list, writes Jonny Marsh.

The Party 

This year has to be one of the biggest line ups in Mardi Gras history with three incredible headliners: Sam Smith, Dua Lipa and Kesha. It doesn’t get much bigger than that! With Sydney’s largest entertainment space transformed into a multi-arena immersive dance and party experience, you’ll never get bored at The Party. Tickets already sold out this year – get in early if you don’t want to miss out! 

The Parade

Each year 200 dazzling groups and floats, and tens of thousands of partipants march through the centre of Sydney, celebrating a world of all things camp, queer, glitz and glamour. Despite its glittery appearance, the parade remains a vehicle of protest, honouring those who have marched the street over the last four decades, continuing to showcase “what matters” to LGBT+ lives around the globe now. This is the sparkling jewel is the Mardi Gras crown. 

The Ivy 

Ivy is party central this year. Since launching weekly weekly in Sydney, clubbing veterans Poof Doof have transformed Sydney’s LGBT+ party scene bringing production parties and quality music every damn Saturday! This year they’re also throwing an extra “Big Gay Pool Party” on the Friday night, and keep an eye out for their parade float, always amongst the most eye catching entrants. As well as Poof Doof, Ivy hosts the official Mardi Gras Pool Party, a Kaftan Party and so much more.

The Culture  

Of course it’s not all about partying. Each year Mardi Gras curates a line up of events ranging from cabaret to comedy and everything in between. Highlights include Sissy Ball celebrating NYC vogue ball culture; Koori Gras, a series of creative cultural arts events featuring local, interstate, and international First Nations qweer artists, thinkers, and communities; and Yummy Unleashed, Melbourne’s award winning cabaret spectacular. See the full line up on the Mardi Gras website. 

The Circuit 

Any LGBT+ destination event worth its salt will have a smattering of international party brands to really lift the atmosphere – and Mardi Gras is no exception. Super-circuit party Matinee from Spain returns to Home nightclub on the Sunday, in its fifth anniversary year, debuting a new party concept to celebrate half a decade with international DJs Alex Acosta and GSP jetting in exclusively.  Plus this year new entrant The Week from Brazil is at Universal on both Saturday and Sunday nights with Marathon taking you through to the early hours, featuring no less than six international guest DJs. And if that’s not enough, Morning Glory at Home nightclub has your Mardi Gras breakfast serving up Bloody Marys from 4.30am on Sunday morning. 

Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras takes place annually at the end of February/early March. This year’s Parade and Party are on the weekend of 28 February – 1 March. Mardi Gras will host World Pride in 2023. See for more info. 

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