Bursting with over 170 events (that’s 40 per cent more than 2017), including 12 Midsumma Presents events, two new Event Hubs (Chapel Off Chapel and La Mama), new major venues (Melbourne Recital Centre, ACMI), a new festival bar at Arts Centre Melbourne’s Bombini Buzz and 50 per cent of the program being dished up for free, Midsumma Festival is bigger, more accesible and more beautifully diverse than ever – covering 22 days of summer.

Featured events include The Cocoa Butter Club: Midsumma Special – a co-presentation with Arts Centre Melbourne – which comes from a sold out debut season at the Melba Spiegeltent this year; a romping cabaret celebration of queer-and-trans-people of colour and queer First Nations artists.

WE ARE HERE, curated by Angela Bailey, sees five outstanding contemporary artists bring to life queer histories drawn from State Library Victoria and Australia Lesbian and Gay Archives.

Drawing on our city’s rich comedy culture, the festival will host for the first time its Midsumma Comedy Extravaganza. Co-presented with Arts Centre Melbourne, hosted by Joel Creasey and curated by local comedian Thomas Jaspers (AKA Rhonda Butchmore), it features a line-up of the best in queer comedy: Lori Bell, Dolly Diamond, Bobby Macumber, Steven Oliver and Kirsty Webeck.

Never a Crime at the Abbotsford Convent is a photographic exhibition of portraits by Lisa White that explores mature-aged men’s experiences of homosexual law reform and Victoria’s expungement scheme, and in QueerTech.io Midsumma takes the leap into the digital realm, presenting an extraordinary online survey of queer digital visual art works accompanied by a special one-off screening at ACMI.

Other highlights include the Midsumma Youth Spectacular at the Melba Spiegeltent (a collaboration with Minus18, Australia’s largest queer youth organisation), Midsumma at ArtPlay (in partnership with City of Melbourne’s ArtPlay) which will make a welcoming creative space for diverse families (children aged 2–5), and Black Magic (in partnership with Incinerator Gallery) which presents queer Indigenous voices in visual art. Submissions are now open for the prestigious Midsumma Australia Post Art Prize, with a prize pool of $7,000 and the finalists to be announced on December 15 at No Vacancy, QV Gallery.

Celebrate the festival’s finale on the closing weekend with Midsumma Horizon at State Library Victoria – an arty party to celebrate queer history, where revellers can get their portraits taken throughout the night to be zipped-up and archived for posterity in a time capsule at Australia Lesbian and Gay Archives. Festival favourite Midsumma Carnival kicks off the 22 day season on 14 January, with Pride March on 28 January.

Get early bird tickets for a 15% discount until 9 December. Follow us on twitter @midsumma and insta @midsummafestival and don’t forget to #midsumma when you’re out and about so we can see what you’re up to!

For the full programme go to midsumma.org.au