Sydney, already a global icon of the queer scene, is rushing headlong into its first-ever hosting role of WorldPride, the first city to host WorldPride in the southern hemisphere.
With the eyes of the world upon us, we’re stepping things up a notch as we prepare to sashay our way through two full weeks of glitter and glamour for the 23rd year of InterPride’s WorldPride.
2023 is a massive year for the Australian queer community and its allies. This year marks the 50th anniversary of Gay Pride Week in Australia as well as the 45th anniversary of the Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras. In addition, we’re also celebrating five years of Australian marriage equality.
As if there wasn’t enough reason to party, off the back of the pandemic, 2023 is shaping up to be a global reunion with the theme of ‘Gather, Dream, Amplify’ as this year’s guiding light. The city is going to be turning all shades of the rainbow as it’s packed out with concerts, parades, marches, and parties.
With over 300 fabulous events to choose from, it’s going to be a tricky one to navigate getting between all of the action. So, here is The Latch‘s guide to the unmissable Sydney WorldPride 2023.
When Is Sydney WorldPride?
WorldPride is taking over the Harbour City from February 17 through to March 5. The main event, the annual Mardi Gras parade, will take place on February 25 when it returns to its spiritual home of Oxford Street after two years of COVID-enforced safety in the Sydney Cricket Ground.
While the official dates capture most of the main action, there are tonnes of side events and affiliated activities that are already happening and will be kicking around long after the international crowds have departed.
How to Get Tickets to WorldPride Events
With the whole world descending on Sydney, quite a few of the events below have already sold out. If you’ve missed getting a ticket, Sydney WorldPride has an extensive ticket resale programme, with special considerations in place for First Nation’s people looking to get in on the action. It’s worth having a scout on a few of the options available at that link as well as the reputable and safe resale site, Tixel. WorldPride has however cautioned people not to buy resale tickets from Viagogo or Gumtree.
What to Do at Sydney WorldPride
House of Hornecker, Darlinghurst, Gadigal Land, Feb 9 – Mar 5
Starting things off with a bang, this immersive queer theatre experience is set to be a feast for all the senses. From the mind of artist and Kylie collaborator, Tony Hornecker, comes this “gypsy vagabond speakeasy”, featuring 18 rooms packed with oddities that set the stage for a chaotic cast of drag queens to drop a creative bomb on Darlinghurst.
Tickets come with a cocktail and horse d’oeuvres with performances from an acclaimed international cast featuring A Man To Pet, Fancy Shews, Joseph Wilson, ChRAJA, Gaffy Gaffiero, Aaron Manhattan, Harry Morrissey and Dan Wye as Seyoncé.
Hordern Pavillion, Gadigal Land, Feb 17, 6pm
Sydney Roller Derby League has been championing queer skaters for a decade now, offering everyone a fun way to keep fit while making friends. Their annual Pride Fight event sees four teams fight it out in friendly exhibition rounds designed to introduce newcomers to the spork. There’s even a ‘Derby 101’ intro to bring you up to speed if you’ve never heard of the game before. Come catch the Butch v Femmes or the Rainbows vs Sparkles bring the heat at the Hordern.
The Station, Newcastle, Awabakal Land, Feb 18, 6pm – 10pm
Get ready for a culinary and entertainment experience like no other at Pink Salt, the signature culinary event of Sydney WorldPride. Indulge in a sumptuous 3-course meal prepared by queer chefs, paired with a non-stop fabulous show featuring queer art, music, DJs, and performances.
Located in Newcastle, just a short drive or train ride north of Sydney. Don’t miss out on this 18+ event and kick off your WorldPride celebrations in style!
Victoria Park, Gadigal Land, Feb 19, 10am – 9pm
The kick-off event for Sydney WorldPride is the celebration of Fair Day. Camperdown’s Victoria Park will be transformed into an all-day rainbow extravaganza with over 200 stalls, entertainment, and food options.
Highlights include live performances, the Doggywood pageant, and a mini Vogue Ball. Experience the importance of safe, celebratory spaces for LGBTQIA+SB First Nations communities at the First Nations Circle and don’t miss the opportunity to participate in the Inaugural Drag King Games and represent your hometown on the main stage.
All ages are welcome, so bring your dog, your Nan, and your neighbour for a day of fun and celebration.
Nour, Gadigal Land, Feb 19, 11:30am – 4pm
Surry Hills’ premium Middle Eastern eatery is throwing an epic drag brunch party to celebrate Sydney WorldPride 2023. The ‘Pride Icons’ brunch will see the return of NOUR’s brunch-style menu for one day only, hosted by Sydney’s top drag talent, Naomi Campbell aka HollyWould and Kylie Minogue aka Fairah Nuff. Come dressed as your favourite LGBTQIA+ icon and enjoy beats, booze, and a mouth-watering Middle Eastern banquet.
Ivy Pool Club, Gadigal Land, Feb 20, 2pm-8pm
Party poolside at Paradiso Pool Party, the hottest ticket on the Sydney WorldPride calendar. Join Alan Thompson, Corey Craig, Ausli Hue, and other top DJs for a day of sun, drinks, and non-stop music. As the sun sets, head downstairs to Changeroom for an even wilder experience.
Carriageworks, Gadigal Land, Feb 23, 26, & 27, 7:30 & 8pm
Experience the diversity and excellence of World First Nations at the Village, a high-energy celebration of drag, circus, cabaret, and dance parties. With performances by artists from Haus of Kong, Casus, Humxn, Aboriginal Comedy All Stars, House of Alexander, Thicc Shake, Prinnie Stevens and more, this is a must-see event for all.
The Domain, Gaidgal Land, Feb 24, 3pm – 11pm
WorldPride 2023 kicks off in style with a star-studded concert at The Domain. Hosted by Casey Donovan and Courtney Act, the event features performances by Kylie Minogue, Charli XCX, and Jessica Mauboy, and will be broadcast live on ABC. Get down early for pre-show entertainment, food, and beverage offerings. You can either pick general admission for a BYO picnic rug vibes or reserved seating at the centre of the action. DJ Stereogamous will keep the tunes spinning until 11.
Oxford Street, Gadigal Land, Feb 25, 6pm – 11pm
This is the big one as the world-renowned Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade returns to Oxford Street for its 45th-anniversary celebration. The streets will come alive with dazzling displays of LGBTQIA+ excellence, showcasing the beauty and strength of pride and self-expression, as we continue the fight for equality.
As the biggest event of the Sydney WorldPride festival, all eyes will be on the 12,500 marchers and over 200 floats that will adorn Oxford Street for the first time since 2020. Expect to see all your Parade favourites, from the famous rumble of the Dykes on Bikes to the quintessentially Australian Lifesavers With Pride.
The ‘Gather, Dream, Amplify’ theme will come to life in the floats, stunning lighting, and breathtaking fireworks shows. The parade route itself has been extended, stretching from Hyde Park to Moore Park, so you can catch all the action from the free viewing areas on the street or in premium viewing spaces.
After the main event, you’ve got a whole lot of after-hours options to keep the party going but the biggest will be the Mardi Gras Party which is virtually taking over the whole of the Entertainment Quarter. The Hordern Pavillion is the epicentre of the celebrations with tunes from DJ Josh, DJ 4 Strings, Ryan Murphy, Shigeki, and Paul Goodyear.
International Conventions Centre, Gadigal Land, Mar 1 – 3
Sydney WorldPride is hosting a three-day LGBTQIA+ Human Rights Conference, the largest of its kind in the southern hemisphere.
The conference is a great way to sharpen your knowledge of LGBTQIA+ human rights and the historical struggle for justice. It features keynotes, panels, roundtables, workshops, performances, and networking events with over 60 local and international presenters. Speakers and stakeholders include LGBTQIA+ campaigners and activists, First Nations leaders and Elders, policy and lawmakers, elected officials, researchers and academics.
It’s open to everyone, with keynote day passes starting from $25 and will be live-streamed for free.
Opera House, Gadigal Land, Mar 2, 7pm – 9pm
Blak & Deadly promises a night of glittering First Nations talent at the Sydney Opera House. The First Nations Gala Concert is the only official WorldPride event in the Harbour City’s iconic venue, featuring performances from Jessica Mauboy, Casey Donovan, Deborah Cheetham AO and more.
Hosted by comedian Steven Oliver, the show also includes appearances from Electric Fields, Mo’Ju, Kween Kong, Samuel Gaskin, The Merindas, and Jeremy Dutcher, with accompaniment from the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and Sydney Philharmonia Choirs. This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience celebrating the past, present and future of Aboriginal culture.
Sydney Town Hall, Gadigal Land, Mar 3, 5pm – 1am
Possibly your one and only chance to party with Peaches, Ultra Violet is set to be the ultimate female-identifying exclusive event for queer women at Sydney WorldPride. Curated by DJs Sveta Gilerman and Jess Hill, this event will feature a lineup of talented DJs and performers, including international icon Peaches, and will transform Sydney Town Hall into a night of immersive and electrifying entertainment.
With a mix of burlesque, performance art, visual art, cabaret, drag kings, and music genres like house, electro-pop, ballroom, rap/hip-hop, and disco, raw creativity and celebration will be the order of the evening.
Bondi Beach, Bidjigal Land, Mar 4, 3pm – 10pm
Partying at Bondi Beach has to be the ultimate Sydney experience. International pop star Nicole Scherzinger will be headlining a one-day-only event on the iconic waterfront with an all-Australian line-up of DJs including dameeeela, Jarred Baker, Jacqui Cunningham, DJ Charlie Villas and DJ Dan Murphy.
The party runs from day to dusk to night, with the beach stage transforming from camp pop fun, to house, to heaving electro unity with special ‘pop-up performances’ also taking place throughout.
Sydney Town Hall, Gadigal Land, Mar 4, 6pm – 11pm
Sissy Ball sets the stage for a legendary clash of queer houses from across the globe. Amidst the harsh realities faced by the transgender community in Australia, vogue families were born for safety and necessity. Sissy Ball was established to unite and celebrate their survival.
This year, it’s going global for WorldPride, with all the girls from around the world taking over the grand Sydney Town Hall runway. Hosted by legendary Curator Kilia Tipa, an esteemed panel of international judges will decide who takes the 10s and who gets the chop.
Sydney Harbour Bridge, Gadigal and Gamaragai Land, Mar 5, 7am – 10am
Join 50,000 people in a powerful international statement for LGBTQIA+ equality by marching across the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge. Celebrating 45 years of Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, 50 years of the first Australian Gay Pride Week and 5 years of marriage equality in Australia, the queer community and its allies unite in solidarity for the rights of all rainbow communities worldwide.
Tickets have all been allocated for the march however you can join the waitlist here.
The Domain, Gadigal Land, Mar 5, 3pm – 10pm
For the official end to Sydney WorldPride, things are wrapping up with a bang. International pop sensations, including Kim Petras and MUNA, are gracing The Domain’s outdoor stage alongside local acts like G Flip and Alter Boy.
With 7 hours of live music, DJs, food, and drinks, this event is the perfect way to end 17 days of celebrations.